Posted by: zebe912 | October 8, 2008

Cottage, Ranch, or Pasture??

Depending on who you ask, this is a recipe for either Cottage Pie, Rancher’s Pie, or Shepherd’s Pie. I’ve always known it as Shepherd’s Pie, so that’s what I’m calling it. Two restaurants in our area have very yummy versions of this, but since it can also be known as Poor Man’s Pie, I see no reason to pay $13 for a serving of it when I can make a whole batch for well under $10.

I started by braising an English Roast last night in my cast iron dutch oven (yea wedding present!).  I browned the meat on both sides, then added a chopped potato, a couple of carrots, an onion, 2 stalks celery, and some garlic.  I added about a cup of water and let it simmer for the rest of the evening (2-3 hours).  I chopped it up and stuck it in the fridge over night.  This was the most time consuming part.  The rest of the recipe took under 30 minutes:

Tonight when I got home from work, I chopped up a few more potatoes, & carrots, boiling them (with some frozen corn) until they were soft.  The potatoes then were mashed with some butter & milk.  The rest of the veggies were set aside for the inside of the pie.

I based the “innards” of my pie on this recipe, subbing my roast for the ground beef.  I began by browning a chopped onion, and a clove of garlic in a bit of oil.  I then added the chopped roast from last night and poured in the beef broth and sauces.  (I decided not to use the curry this time around since I wasn’t sure how that would go with ketchup and Worcestershire.)   I only chopped up one tomato, and I’m still not sure that I even want that much.  The ketchup gives enough tomato “essence” that I don’t really need chunks of tomato to chew on.  But nutritionally it’s probably good they were in there.  My cooked carrots and corn went in the pot, and then my cornstarch.  (I actually used potato starch since I have that for my gluten free baking.  It seems to thicken up more evenly and quickly than corn starch.)

The directions on Allrecipes says to simmer for 3-4 minutes.  I wish I’d done it longer.  I think the flavors really needed more time to mingle.  So maybe next time I will reduce the amount of thickener/starch, and  plan to simmer the mix a little longer.

Finally these innards got dumped into my casserole dish.  I used my ice cream scoop to place the mashed potatoes on top (WAY easier than trying to spread them with a spoon or spatula & everything still got covered).  A few minutes under the broiler, and this was ready to go!

I might add more Worcestershire next time, or some salt, but this was great for a first try.  B & I were both really glad I’d had time to cook up the roast instead of having to use ground beef.  I like having something solid amidst all those cooked veggies.  I think this would be fun to put in individual ramkins for serving as well, but B had to eat before class so I couldn’t play around too much.

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