Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cottage Pie Recipe

What the heck is cottage pie?

I have to tell you, I called it Shepherd's Pie for years and years!

When delving into the matter with Professor Google, I discovered that in the UK, Shepherd's Pie is what it's called when it's made with lamb...
When they use beef, they call it Cottage Pie!

I mentioned this in passing to my husband - who responded by looking right at me and saying "We should call it Cottage Pie from now on!"
...I just love it when he's fun and silly like that...
I eagerly agreed!!

I usually prefer to do casserole-type dishes that only require one step to put it all in the dish and stick it in the oven...
However, I make an exception for this one!!  It's that yummy!!

Many traditional meat pie recipes use some sort of gravy and/or sauce.
I started experimenting with ways to add flavor without the heaviness of those sauces and gravies.

This is what I ended up with!

I start by seasoning my ground beef and browning it!
I love the Mrs Dash line of seasoning because they are all about flavor and NOT about all the salt!!

If you're a real vegetable person and prefer to use real, chopped onion, I say go for it!
I'm a weanie and don't like the texture, so I go for minced onions, instead.

While my beef is browning and simmering, I get started on the potato mix that tops the pie!
I love this mashed cauliflower-potato recipe because it pulls in an additional vegetable - and one I don't normally care for on it's own!  It really contributes to my protein-vegetable-carb balance!!

I know I'm going to make 8 servings, so I use my 12" skillet to hold it all, and I use my color-coded containers to determine how much of each ingredient I need!

I know I want the end result to have 8 servings of beef.  Now, I'm not going to send my raw beef through my red containers, so I start with an accepted serving as 3-4 oz.  That means I want 24-32 oz of beef.  I'll look for a package of lean ground beef that weighs in between 1.5 and 2 pounds.  As long as it's in that range, I'm set! 

Pretty much everything else gets counted with the containers, though!

I want my mashed cauliflower-potatoes to be 50/50, so I use 8 yellows of diced potatoes and 4 greens of chopped cauliflower.

I toss the potatoes in the steamer first, add some water, and steam for 5 minutes in the microwave.

Then, I add the cauliflower in and steam that for 10 more minutes.
I love my Large Micro-Cooker by Pampered Chef for this...

I have my stand mixer ready to go for when the steaming is done...
I like to indulge in 1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter in that potato mixture, so I just drop it in the bowl of my stand mixer to wait for the warm veggies to come!

Back to my skillet, the beef is browned and it's time to add in some additional vegetables!  You can obviously add whatever you like, but this time, I added green beans, carrots, and peas.  Frozen vegetables work great for this!!

I used 4 greens of green beans and 2 greens of my peas and carrots.
I know that, technically, peas should be measured in the yellow, but I was using the frozen mix and didn't want to do hard math.  So, I fudged my evaluation a little...

Mix all those vegetables into the beef and let them get warm all the way through.

Meanwhile, the potato mixture should be ready to drop into the stand mixer!
I add a couple twists of Himalayan sea salt to it, and set the mixer to mashing!

You preheated the oven, right?
I set mine at 350, and I try to remember to do that before I get sidetracked into all that other fun stuff...

When everything in the skillet is heated through and the potato mix is well mashed, just spread that loveliness over the top of the skillet contents like frosting a cake!

I don't worry too much about a perfectly smooth surface, because I like the browning effect that happens to the potato peaks!

Bake the whole mess into the oven (I'm assuming you can put your skillet in the oven like I can - Pampered Chef again!!) and bake for about 15 minutes.

Once the potatoes have that little bit of crunch on the pointy spots, I pull it out and divvy it up into 8 servings!

I must apologize for not having specific measurements for some things...
I've been eyeballing this entire operation and just dash seasonings "until it looks good"...

I'll try to update this post with actual measurements and directions that look like a real recipe!

In the meantime, consider experimenting with your own favorite dishes and see if you can't improve on what you've always done!!

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