This dish is one of those great things that you can play around with, improvising with whatever you have around the house. Parsnips? Sure, throw them in. How about a turnip? Sounds good. Lamb? Change “cottage” to “shepherd” and you’re good to go. Beef? Beef is better than okay! Tomato paste? Some fresh chopped tomato. I say add whatever makes you feel warm and happy.
Just imagine whatever you would like to eat in your cottage if you had one (you might).
3 medium Russet potatoes, cut into large dice
1 heaping tablespoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 to 1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots or 3 medium carrots, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 pound of grass-fed, lean ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of veal or beef stock (you could also use milk or chicken stock)
1/2 cup of frozen green peas
Salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Add the salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are tender. You will know that they are ready when you can crush a potato piece easily against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Drain the potatoes. In the same pan, mash the potatoes with the butter. Add the milk a 1/4 cup at a time until you get the right consistency. You don’t want the potatoes to be dry, but you don’t want them soupy either. Aim for a texture that is loose enough to spoon on top of your beef filling, but not so loose that the potatoes add a lot of excess water to your pie.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots. You want to cook the onions until they are translucent and are just beginning to brown. At that point, add the minced garlic to the carrots and onion. Cook the garlic for about a minute until it is fragrant but not burning. Add the ground beef to the pan. Breaking up bigger chunks of ground beef with your wooden spoon, cook the beef until there is no longer any visible pink. Sprinkle the beef with the Worcestershire sauce and the rosemary. Cook everything for another minute or two. Sprinkle the beef with flour. Stir again and cook for a few more minutes to brown the flour. Add the stock to the pan and stir to combine everything. The sauce should begin to thicken. When the sauce has gotten to the point that you think it is ready (the mixture should be held together by a nice, thick sauce) , distribute the peas over the top of the beef and continue to cook everything together for about another minute before turning off the heat.
4. Spread the meat mixture over the bottom of a casserole dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. You can even use a fork to rough up the surface if you like. Bake the casserole uncovered in the oven for 25 minutes. The potatoes will have just started to brown. Wait at least 15 minutes before serving.