Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cottage Pie

Kind of like chicken-pot-pie, but beef instead of chicken and mashed potatoes for the topping. I loaded this down with lots of veggies, since meat is more expensive. Moist rosemary/thyme meat filling topped with cheesy, garlic mashed potatoes. Not bad for a casserole.

Serves 3

25 + 15 + 30 minutes (meat, potatoes, baking; total: 1 hour 10 minutes)
-large saucepan
-9" round cake pan

1 medium white onion
3 carrots, peeled (~1/2 cup, chopped)
2 celery stalks

¼ c. frozen peas, defrosted
¼ lb to ½ lb ground beef

½ tsp. dried rosemary leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper
½ of a (14 oz.) can Swanson Beef Broth – about 1 cup broth
3 heaping tbsp. of GF flour— I used white sorghum
Spud Topping:
4 medium red potatoes (-OR- 2 large russets)
4 garlic cloves
¼ to ½ c. cheddar cheese
3 to 4 heaping tbsp. sour cream—I used Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (try a bit of vegan butter if both soy and dairy intolerant)
[2 tsp. chopped fresh chives- optional]

1. Chop up the white onion into small-ish pieces (1/4th inch; not too coarse). Peel and cut the carrots into small-ish pieces. Slice and chop up the celery into likewise small pieces. Defrost and drain the 1/2 c. frozen peas. Place veggies near the stove.
2. Rinse off ground beef and place in large saucepan. Start cooking the beef over medium heat, breaking the meat into small pieces (don't pulverize it). Cook beef for 5 minutes, until it's fully grey on the outside. At this point, drain out all but 1 to 2 tbsp. meat grease. Discard excess grease.
3. Add in all of the chopped veggies (onion, carrots, celery, peas). Also add in the rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Pour in half the can of beef broth to the saucepan. Stir. Boil/cook for another 5 minutes. At this point the meat should be fully cooked and the onions transparent. There will still be some broth pooled at the bottom of the saucepan.
5. Turn off the heat, and tilt the pan to one side to separate the broth and the solid beef/veggies. Sprinkle the GF flour over the MEAT portion (it will clump if you add it directly to the liquid). Stir carefully to coat the beef/veggies, then slowly in with the liquid to thicken the broth. You should now have a gravy covering you meat mixture. Add in a little more GF flour if need be-- you don't want it too runny, more like a sauce.
6. Spoon meat mixture into the 9" cake pan (baking dish); make sure to evenly distribute. Leave on the stove, or place temporarily into the fridge why you boil up the potatoes.
Spud Topping:
-Preheat oven to 400 F-
7. Scrub the red potatoes-- don't bother peeling them, unless you have russets and don't care for the thicker skins. Cut potatoes up into 2 inch cubes; these don't have to be pretty, since they are about to get mashed. Wash and peel the 4 garlic cloves. Leave the garlic whole.
8. Quickly wash out the saucepan you used for the meat and return it to the range. Throw the potato pieces and garlic cloves into the saucepan. Add enough water to the pan to mostly cover the potatoes.
9. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Make sure to stir the spuds a little to evenly cook. Once the potato water is boiling, turn heat down to medium-high and boil for 10 minutes.
10. Remove potatoes promptly from the heat and carefully drain the hot water. I was able to mash the potatoes in my non-stick saucepan without scraping it, but I had to be very careful. However you do it, mash the potatoes and garlic until they are as creamy as you want (they will be soft and kinda dry).
11. Once they are mashed, fold in the cheddar cheese; spuds should be cool enough now to not totally melt the cheese on first contact. Stir in the sour cream [and chives] . The potatoes should be creamy.. add in a bit more sour cream if still too dry/starchy.
12. Spoon the spuds evenly over the meat layer. Use a fork to 'rough up' the top a little, if you wish. Place the pie into the 400 F preheated oven. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove when the potatoes develop a nice crispy top.
13. Let the pie sit for 10 minutes.. it tastes way better slightly cooled. Eat warm.

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