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Cottage Pie

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Level: Easy

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Description

A very British take on comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Potatoes
  • 2 whole Medium Onions
  • 2 whole Carrots
  • 2 whole Tomatoes
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Plus Extra For Drizzling On Top Of The Casserole
  • 1-½ pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes De Provence
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch (Optional)
  • 1-½ cup Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 5 ounces, weight Gruyere, Or Cheddar
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation

1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water for about 15 minutes. When you can insert a knife into them easily, they are cooked. Drain off the water and let the potatoes cool in the pot.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and dice the carrots and dice the tomatoes. Peel the garlic clove and cut it into quarters. Place the frozen peas in a strainer and run hot water on them for a few seconds to thaw them.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook for about 10 minutes, until cooked through and slightly browned. Remove the mixture from the skillet into a bowl and set it aside. Then add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 3 minutes, until tender and slightly golden. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the carrots, peas and cooked beef. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes while stirring, then add the stock and the herbs. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly. If after 20 minutes you still have a lot of stock in the skillet, you can add a thickener. If you need a thickener add 1 teaspoon cornstarch into a small cup with a dash of water. Mix to make a paste then add this into the pot.

4. While the meat simmers, mash the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher, adding the milk as you go. Melt the butter in the microwave (for 30-60 seconds or until melted) then stir it into the potato mixture. It’s okay if a few chunks remain. Grate the cheese and stir it into the mashed potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

5. Preheat oven to 375°F. When the potatoes and meat are ready, spread the meat filling into the bottom of a 12 x 8 inch baking dish. Then spread the potatoes on top, pressing down so no air remains. Score the top with a fork, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, then bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

My tips:

- You can adjust the amount of stock to your taste. If you would like a drier pie, just use 1 cup of chicken stock instead of 2.
- After simmering the meat and vegetables, you can either discard the extra stock in the skillet, or add it to the baking dish. The pie will dry up in the oven, so the extra juice will serve to moisturize the mashed potatoes when serving.
- I didn’t peel the potatoes to save time and it was fine. If you wish to, you can peel the potatoes before boiling them.
- The obvious choice for cheese here is cheddar (you can also use gouda), but Comté worked really well.
- Grate the cheese yourself, or it won’t have the same creamy consistency once baked.

Source: Adapted from Jamie Oliver.

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