Tea & Sympathy, my very favorite British haunt in NYC, is responsible for introducing me to this pie, as well as other English favorites. They, along with my friend H., have duly helped me turn the stereotype of awful British food on its head.
British food is comfort food at its finest and this pie is a classic example. Technically it can only be called Shepherd's Pie if it is made with ground lamb and a Cottage Pie when made with beef but it seems that either name will do.
I have been making a version of this since my purchase of the Tea & Sympathy cookbook (now temporarily out of print), years ago. I have compared a few versions and have come up with my own rendition. It is easy to make in advance.
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1 medium onion diced
2 carrots chopped fine
1 celery rib chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. organic ground beef
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
salt and pepper
grated sharp cheddar (optional)
1. Boil potatoes, drain and make mashed potatoes with butter and milk (you can prep potatoes and leave in cold water. Start cooking them when you begin to saute onion etc.).
2. Saute onion,carrots, celery and garlic for 10-15 minutes until soft.
3. Add beef and cook about 15 minutes until browned.
4. Stir in remainder of ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes more.
5. Spoon beef mixture into a gratin dish.
6. Top with mashed potatoes. Make designs with fork, swirling them upwards. Sprinkle with grated cheddar (optional).
7. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 F.
Serves 4 generously
Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Goes To College...
Tales of Empty Nest and College Boy Eats.. The Next Chapter