Very Basic Cottage Pie

RFWnew_edited-4-315x236We’ve had lots of rain lately and it’s put me in a comfort food mood. So, last weekend we had some friends over and I made my version of cottage pie. It turned out really tasty – I only wish I’d made more! As I’ve said before, I cook by feel and I’m not very good with measurements, so I hope this all makes sense.

For the Mashed Potato Topping:

  • Potatoes (ok, so I used about 10 small potatoes but you could use less if you have big potatoes, or more if you need – cut up enough to fill a medium size pot half way)
  • Cream (enough to make the mashed potatoes creamy – this last time I think I used a little less then 200g)
  • A generous pat of Butter
  • Celery Root and/or Parsnip (these are optional – sometimes I use them and sometimes I don’t)

Peel the vegetables and cut them up into medium size pieces. Place them all in a pot and cover with water. Boil until soft and drain off the water. Using a handheld stick blender (or a fork) mash the vegetables with some cream and butter until the desired texture and creaminess is achieved. Set aside the mashed potatoes while you prepare the rest of the cottage pie.

Inside The Cottage Pie:

  • Ground Beef (I’m not sure exactly how much I used but it was one package worth – I used organic but I haven’t been able to find a good source for grass fed beef here in Prague, does anyone know where I could get this??)
  • 2-5 Carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 1-3 Onions, chopped
  • A handful of mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • About a ½ cup green peas
  • Tomatoes (I think I used about 6 small to medium size tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees F or just under 200 degrees C.

Saute the ground beef until cooked and then pour it into an oven proof casserole dish. Leave some of the fat from the meat in the pan and use it to sauté the onions and mushrooms until soft. Add the carrots and peas to the onions and mushrooms and cook for just a little bit until slightly softened. Dump all the veggies in the baking dish with the meat. Add the tomatoes and stir in salt and pepper.

Spoon the Mashed Potatoes on top of the meat and veggie mixture and place in the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with more salt and pepper (or even some fresh dried herbs).

NOTE: It is common for cottage pie to have beef stock in it and you are welcome to add it to the meat mixture as it will add a great flavor. I don’t often use it because I rarely have beef stock on hand and when I do I usually make soup out of it pretty quickly. Sometimes I’ve added a little chicken stock to this cottage pie if I have it. You can also add fresh or dried herbs such as thyme or parsley for more flavor and I have added a little Worcestershire sauce to it before as well. Often, though, I like it just plain and simple with just the flavor from the meat and the veggies.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did. I think this has become one of my favorite comfort foods.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman

This post has been entered in the Real Food Wednesdays blog carnival hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop and CHEESESLAVE. Check out the link for lots of other great posts all about real food.