Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Very Very Good Cottage Pie

How good can it be? Try it, especially on kids. I haven't met a kid who doesn't like cottage pie.

I didn't know until today that shepherd's pies have lamb or mutton as the meat filling while cottage pies have beef. Hmm, I've always called my ground beef mash pies shepherd's pies. There you go, something learnt.

I made half a dozen mini cottage pies along with the two jumbo pies for the Kg K kids and when E dropped by this afternoon, I gave her a couple to bring home. She just messaged to say that her hub and son loved the pies and she has to have the recipe, so I am happy to oblige since I am running low on materials to blog. I have the total opposite problem to Jo's. I can write and publish a post in 20 minutes but I don't have enough photos to support my ramblings. These days we've been getting afternoon thunderstorms (and mornings are so hot the sunlight sears) and there just isn't enough natural light to capture photos good enough to blog.

You can do the mash the night before to break up the steps and make work lighter. These pies freeze well too although in my house we never have enough left over to freeze. My mash are not super smooth because I don't have a ricer and my helper Vero uses a potato masher. Some people recommend the processor but that would make the mash sticky most of the time. Anyway, for cottage pies I prefer to have some lumps in the mash.

This recipe has been with me forever so I can't remember where it's from. It's the only cottage pie recipe I like. In fact, when I eat other cottage pies, I secretly feel pleased that they aren't as good as mine. Now you can secretly feel pleased too next time you eat somebody else's less-than -perfect cottage pie (as long as she doesn't read this blog too). E said most cottage pies have a ragu style filling with too much tomato puree whereas my pie filling tastes more like the beef steak pies. When something's so good you don't want to change it much except I've added parmesan and cheddar in place of butter and also mixed Italian herbs and more garlic to give it extra flavor. Here's the golden recipe.


Cottage Pie

The Mash
1.5 kg old potatoes*
50 g tasty cheddar, grated
30 g parmesan cheese, grated
6-8 T milk or skimmed milk
salt and pepper to taste

* I like the potato layer to be 1 1/2 times the height of the meat layer for a more substantial meal but you can decrease this amount to 1 kg if you don't want such a thick layer. Make sure the meat layer is not too thin or nobody will like your pie.

1. Peel, cube and boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and mash while hot, adding the cheeses, milk, salt and pepper. I like my mash lightly salted to go with a saltier meat base but it's up to you. Add some butter if like.

The Meat Filling
700 g fresh lean ground beef
3 tomatoes, in thin slices (optional but recommended)
4 T tomato puree or 2 T tomato paste
1 big onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper (to your taste)
1-1 /2 t salt (to your taste)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano/Italian mixed herbs
1 beef stock cube*
2 T ordinary flour

* My fav is Korean beef granules that come in 300 g and 500 g packs, with the picture of a large piece of uncooked steak on the packs. Very flavorful, better than Oxo and Maggi.

1. Preheat oven at 250 C.

2.Heat a pot up, add 1 T olive oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft (not brown) and add the beef. Fry the beef until the color has changed. Add the puree, basil, oregano or Italian mixed herbs, salt & pepper and flour, stirring all the time. Break the stock cube, taste and season if necessary.If your mash is not too salty, you can make the meat a little saltier. Add 1 1 /4 cup water, stirring well until all the water is absorbed.

3. Spoon beef mixture into an ovenproof dish of about 9" square (you can also use small individual foil pans), arrange the tomato slices over the meat and spread the mash on top. Drag a fork over to make a pattern. You can sprinkle a tablespoon of grated tasty cheddar or parmesan all over the mash too.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until mash is crisped and browned here and there.


Plain Jane said...

yup, until JUST recently too, I found out about the Cottage - Shepherds difference. There I was enjoying shepherd's pie and announcing how I don't eat lamb or mutton!!

Ah King and Moon said...

Thanks for the kind recipe, so now, other than chicken wings, agar-agar and salad, i know what i can bring for the party. ;-)

Precious Pea said...

I get smarter reading your i know the difference of cottage and shepherd pie. Thanks for sharing the on a mission from mid May onwards. I plan to cook a new dish a day until the day I leave for Melbourne. This will be in my list. Will let you know how it turn out.

Precious Pea said...

Spotted an way possible 700kg of beef rite??? 700gram?

lilblackdots said...

thank u,thank u,thank u soo much for the recipe..actually when u talked abt serving sheperd's pie yesterday i was secretly hoping u would give out the recipe sooner or bout that chicken stew recipe..;=p

Rei said...

I have had my share of less-than-perfect cottage and shepherd's pie recipes. The latter has a layer of melted butter fats floating on top. :S Thanks for sharing.

terri@adailyobsession said...

plainjane: :D must've stumped some ppl with tt

king n moon: yes, it'll be a hit. btw, momo wasn't too pleased when taking tt photo?

pp:why mid may, why not starting now? but u can cook, i've seen ur duck n roasted pork posts, they r restaurant standard.

lilblackdots: welcome, now go make some today. the chicken stew is just regular stew with onions, carrots, potatoes n chicken spiced with a cinnamon stick n bay leaf...

rei: yuks, tt's bad pie. am really looking forward to eating in singapore again, thanks to u:)

terri@adailyobsession said...

pp: ooops! u r right, 700 g not 700 kg. so u really read the recipe ha?! if i'm not wrong this is the 2nd time u pointed out the same kind of mistake i made? thanx dear, now u have to keep on proof reading 4 me!

kat said...

I read this from a James Martin cookbook - how many sheperds have you seen looking after cattle..? :D

I know someone who once made an oriental cottage pie using mince pork and brinjals. Pork and (fried) brinjal in a black bean sauce under a layer of buttery spuds would work really well, don't you think?

Precious Pea said...

Cos my last day at work would be in from then onwards i will be very free at home. That is why i plan to cook a new dish a day till i leave in July.

Hehehe...well.....that is becos I do admire your cooking skill! There are so many recipes of yours that I wanna try.

Agnes @ rB said...

I will try making this. :)

Zurin said...

If you say its good then it must be good and now I have to try it!

ChopSuey said...

thanks for posting recipes for the foods that i love. i looked through and other websites and was put off by either the weird ingredients or too many steps!

can't wait to try this!

Trish said...

i always thought both beef and lamb versions were called Shepherds pie.... thanks for teaching me something new today!

ganache-ganache said...

Ya, I've always called my cottage pie shepherd's pie even though I know the diff, but many people thought shepherd's pie's filing is beef, so saves me the trouble of explaining !!!

Ah King and Moon said...

Haha, yeah, Momo is kind of camera shy....

TeaLady said...

I have always called mine Shep's pie too. LIve and learn. I like your recipe. I usually make mine more like a beef/hambaurger stew with mushroom or chicken cream soup, peas, corn and melted cheddar cheese on top. Simple and quick, but will try yours.

Anonymous said...

hi terri


terri@adailyobsession said...

kat : tt sounds delish. cook it n tell me

pp: so sad tt another friend is leaving msia...but really, the way things have been going, u've made the right choice

agnes, zurin, chop suey: report back to me how it turned out?

trish: i think most ppl think the same :)

ganache: right, i'm one of them. was one of them.

ah king: momo looks very macho, very opinionated :D

tealady: ur recipe sounds luxurious n def not quick. i think if i make a stew it'll never get to the pie stage. usually by the time it's done n b4 it's served, the pot's already half empty.

tina: :D

Anonymous said...

some days i wish u were my mum :)

Didi said...

made this for the Family dinner this week and you're right. it was a winner! even with my picky eater... ;-)

bettyimages said...

shepherds are for sheep and not cattle that's why its shepherds pie.
anyhow, the pie looks really delish

KatK said...

Hi Terri,

Thanks for clearing up (for me) the difference between cottage & shepherd's. It is definitely something learnt.

I tried your cottage pie this afternoon (what a huge portion).. and shared out between my family and relatives / friends.

ALL of them sing praises after praises and some even suggested that I sell the pie! LOL... the credit must really go to you, Terri. Thank you for sharing such a wondering 'golden' recipe with us. I can't wait to try out your chicken / Leek pie. That one certainly looks mouth watering too!

FYI, my relatives are buddhists so I changed the ingredients from 'beef' to 'pork'. Was a little apprehensive about the taste of pork against the herbs and basil. Turned out fine, but need to add additional seasoning like salt / light soy sauce. I think the pie will definitely be more tasty if I had used beef instead. Definitely will make this pie again and will then use Beef!

Sally said...

Hi Terri,

Can you tell me where i can buy the Korean brand beef stock cube or granules in KK? Thank you so much!


terri@adailyobsession said...

hi sally, i go to the korea mart next to shikei restaurant in asia city. turn in right after chung hwa school in kg air.the beef granules are packed in a foil-plastic bag with a photo of a raw steak on it.

Sally said...

Thank you so much. I'll try to ask my sister to help me to locate the shop and buy it for me so that my mum can bring it back with her to Sandakan on tomorrow. I can't find the beef granules here in Sandakan. Sigh~

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