Cottage Pie

I live in West Virginia.  It’s February.  It is COLD out.  (Okay, I’m lying.  It was 50 degrees Fahrenheit today.  But it WAS cold.)  When it’s chilly, you tend to crave hearty food.  Stuff that sticks to your bones and warms the belly.  And carbs.  Lots of carbs.  Anyone who lives in areas that regularly get dumped on come Winter knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Cottage pie is the perfect meal for the freezing cold months of Winter.  It has everything you could ever want in a warm, savory dish.  And it is, by definition, man-friendly.  This is meat and potatoes at it’s finest.  It may even be proposal-inducing.  Read on.

You will need the following:

Filling:

1.5 pounds lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion

2 carrots

3 stalks of celery

1 tablespoon dried thyme (or fresh, if you prefer)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

16 oz beef broth

salt and pepper to taste

Mashed potatoes:

For the mashed potatoes, I’ll just link you guys to the post I already made.  Scale it back to four potatoes.

Also, get out your paprika.

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.

Take your ground beef and throw it in a skillet.  Brown the beef over medium heat.  While the beef is browning, chop your onions, your carrots, and your celery.  When the beef has cooked down and some liquid grease has formed, toss in your vegetables and cook it all together until the beef is thoroughly cooked and the onions are translucent.  When you are done, drain off some of the beef fat, leaving a couple tablespoons.

Return your skillet to the stove, again over medium heat, and sprinkle the thyme over your mixture, then stir it in.  Then sprinkle the flour over the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, mixing the flour in before adding the next tablespoon, so that it is evenly distributed.  Then take your beef broth and add it to the mixture.  Give the mixture a several good stirs to mix the broth and the flour up, and simmer it until the broth becomes a rich gravy.  Taste it, and add salt and pepper as desired.

Cottage pie filling

Isn’t it beautiful?  Makes you want to eat it right out of the skillet, except for the fact that it’s scalding hot.  I don’t recommend it.  Plus, wait until you taste it with the potatoes.  It’s a party in your mouth.  (Insert juvenile snickering here.)

Add this to a 2 quart glass baking dish.

Prepare your mashed potatoes according to the recipe linked.  Spread it in an even layer over top the beef and vegetable mixture to within three-quarters of an inch of the rim of your baking dish.  Take your paprika and sprinkle a little over the surface of the potatoes.  Stick the dish into the oven and bake until the gravy bubbles and the surface of the potatoes browns lightly.  This should take about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Remove the dish, allow to cool slightly, and serve in a bowl to your boyfriend/husband/father/father-in-law/man-in-your-life.  (You can have some too, I suppose.)

The best sound any cook can hear is nothing.  Absolute silence is a compliment.  It means they’re too busy eating and enjoying to use words.  This is a good thing.

Cottage pie uses beef.  There is an alternate version using lamb, called Shepherd’s Pie.  I’ve never made it myself (lamb is freakin’ expensive) but in order to make it, just used ground lamb in place of ground beef.

Enjoy!

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