So last time, we went to Morocco. Now, with all my sabbatical planning for England, it was inevitable for me to crave for shepherd’s pie. BUT not exactly shepherd’s pie, but what the English call as cottage pie. What’s the difference? One thing. The meat. Beef instead of lamb. Anyone who knows me well can say I’m quite the foodie, but I absolutely hate lamb. Too much that it had ruined a $400 dinner for me. Well, perhaps it’s the way it’s most commonly prepared here. Because there was one lamb dish that I had from Stepho’s, this awesome Greek restaurant in Vancouver. It was a stew and the meat was so tender, not gamey at all, and I loved it. Other than that, I cannot handle lamb. So, I will never be able to make shepherd’s pie.
But, I can definitely prepare it’s American cousin, the cottage pie. When I was in high school, Starbucks served this in the Philippines, at least the Starbucks in front of my school. But that only lasted for about 2 years or so. I kept ordering it until they stopped serving cottage pie (marketed as shepherd’s pie, of course). Basically, it’s really been about 12 years since I’ve had this dish, and I only thought of making it now. And I really shouldn’t have waited this long because it’s super easy. Well, because it is a dish of humble roots, the ingredients are staples in your fridge and pantry. Anyway, let’s get to it so you can enjoy this simple yet hearty meal!
Ingredients – for 4 large servings – but for us, it was about 9 servings
1 1/2 lb potatoes
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
3/4 to 1 whole chopped onion
2 to 2 1/2 cups of assorted vegetables – I used carrots, peas, and mushrooms
1 1/2 lb ground beef – but hey, if you like lamb, go ahead and make the real shepherd’s pie!
1/2 cup of beef broth
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
How it’s done:
1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees C. Peel the potatoes. Cut them too into quarters, which I obviously forgot to do. This will make it easier for you to mash them later. Place them in a pot of salted water to boil, approximately for 20 minutes.
2. While that’s going on, melt 1/2 a stick of butter in a large frying pan. Another oops, I also forgot to cut the stick of butter before taking the picture.
3. When the butter’s completely melted, add the onions and any of your harder vegetables – in my case, carrots.
4. If you have any harder veggies, like I said, add them now. Then, add your ground beef.
5. Mix in the meat very well to make sure you’re cooking all parts. Cook this until all the pink meat is now brown.
6. Add salt to your taste.
7. Also add pepper. I’m liberal with adding pepper because I always like a bit of zing.
8. This is when you add your softer vegetables, here, the mushrooms.
9. Toss in the peas.
10. Add the beef broth and cook uncovered until the broth is reduced. This will take about 10 minutes.
11. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Keep this cooking, to continue to reduce the broth.
12. Now get back to the potatoes. Discard the water from your pot. Add the remaining 1/2 of butter to the pot with the potatoes.
13. With a masher, well, mash away.
14. Then, season with salt and pepper.
15. Transfer the beef in a baking dish.
16. Then, layer the potatoes on top of the beef. Distribute it evenly.
17. Rough the potatoes up with a fork to give it some peaks.
18. Place the baking dish in the oven that’s been heating at 400 degrees C. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, basically until you can see some bubbling. You can broil for a bit as well to get some desired browning.
That’s it!! Very easy right! And like I said, a very hearty meal! Enjoy!