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Recipe File: Shepherd's Pie (Cottage Pie)
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 16776766

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:58 am    Post subject: Recipe File: Shepherd's Pie (Cottage Pie) Reply with quote


Article Digest:
When the English, who seem to have a national fascination with minced meat pies, combined mashed potatoes with minced meat, a truly remarkable dish was born. For over two hundred years, Shepherd's Pie has been made by cooking chopped up lamb or mutton mixed with gravy, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked until a crispy crust forms. When made with beef, this dish is traditionally called Cottage Pie.

Start by chopping up 1-1/2 lb. potatoes into rough 1-inch cubes for boiling. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the potatoes to the water and return the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium to keep the water at a simmer. Cook the potatoes until fully tender, about fifteen minutes.
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While, cooking the potatoes, prepare the vegetables. Use one medium carrot, a celery stalk, and a medium onion (a classic combination known as a mirepoix).
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Dice the carrot, celery, and onion and place in a bowl. Assemble the rest of the ingredients: 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary and dried thyme, 1 cup beef broth, and 1 pound of ground lamb or beef.
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When the potatoes are tender, remove them from the water into a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup of the water. Mash the potatoes with 1 Tbs. butter, the 1/2 cup of reserved water. Add salt and ground white pepper to taste while mashing. I use white pepper in my mashed potatoes so black flecks of pepper are not visible in the finished product. Feel free to use the pepper of your choice.
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After the potatoes have been mashed, set them aside. Heat 3 Tbs. vegetable oil or clarified butter in a large pot over medium heat.
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Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery and stir until the vegetables are coated.
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Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occassionally, until tender, about fifteen minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 400°F.
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Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground meat. Use a wooden spoon (or the potato masher you used on the potatoes) to break the meat apart while cooking.
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Cook the ground meat while stirring until no longer pink, about five minutes.
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Tilt the pot and allow the excess fat to run to one corner. Spoon off the excess fat.
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Add 1 Tbs. flour to the mixture. Mix and cook for a couple minutes while stirring. The flour is added here to help thicken up the gravy that we'll prepare in this mixture. We cook it for a couple minutes during this step so there will not be a raw flour taste to our final dish.
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Add the beef stock, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and nutmeg. Cook while stirring until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. While the gravy thickens, add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
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Pour the meat mixture into a casserole or baking pan.
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Cover meat mixture with the mashed potatoes and fluff the top of the potatoes with a fork. This will allow the bits of potato sticking up to brown and form a crispy crust. Instead of fluffing the potatoes, you can use the fork to carve patterns into the potatoes producing a dramatic crust.
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Cut 2 Tbs. of butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the potatoes. Cover with a healthy amount of paprika. (Optionally, an ounce or two of finely grated cheese, like parmesan, can be used to top the potatoes.)
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Place the shepherd's pie into the oven onto a rack in the center of the oven. After thirty minutes, the potatoes should have formed the golden brown crust. Remove from the oven and allow to rest ten minutes before serving.

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For larger groups or potlucks, I double the portions and prepare exactly as above until the meat mixture is done cooking. Instead of transfering the meat to a baking pan, I put the potatoes into the pot to cover the meat mixture. (If I know that there will be many carb dishes at the meal, then I won't double the potato portion.) After fluffing the potatoes, I bake the whole pot for 30 minutes at 400°F.


Shepherd's Pie (serves four to six)
Mashed potatoes
1-1/2 lb. (700 g) russet potatoesboil until tender (15 min.)mashseason to taste
1/2 cup (120 mL) water reserved from boiling potatoes
1 Tbs. (14 g) unsalted butter
salt
ground white pepper

Shepherd's pie
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C)
3 Tbs. (45 mL) vegetable oilheatmed-low until tendercook until meat is no longer pinkmix and cookstir in and cook until liquid thickensseason to tastecover with potatoes and fluff with forkdrop butter pieces on topcover with paprikabake 400°F (205°C) 30 min.
1 medium (110 g) oniondice
1 medium (61 g) carrot
1 medium (40 g) celery stalk
1 pound (450 g) ground lamb
1 Tbs. (8 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. (1.2 g) dried rosemary
1 tsp. (1 g) dried thyme
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup (235 mL) beef broth
salt
ground black pepper
1-3/4 lb. (800 g) mashed potatoes
2 Tbs. (28 g) buttercut up into small pieces
paprika


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fwendy



Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 19
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not familiar with US varieties of potato, and it was difficult to tell from the photograph - is the russet potato a waxy or floury potato? The mashed potatoes didn't look quite as smooth as we would use in Britain for a Shepherd's Pie - we would use quite a bit more butter, and milk rather than water, to give a thick, smooth purée.

The rest of the recipe looks fine to my British eye, although most cooks I know make Shepherd's (or Cottage) Pie from the remains of a roasted joint of beef, rather than raw meat. It's a way of using leftovers for most families, rather than a dish they create from scratch.
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Psystormi
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Fluffed Reply with quote

I think the reason it look so lumpy was from fluffing them up to get the browned effects whilst baking.

I use milk and loads of butter as well in mine, and while I typically use leftover meats, on occasion we crave the meal itself withough having any leftovers to use!
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jmack
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For variety I have made this dish with a layer of corn between the meat and potatoes and put sliced cheese on the top.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sheppard's pie recipe is a good one and easy to fix. We have been cooking this for years. Practically the same recipe except I add a little celery and some frozen green peas. It really make it a good complete meal.

Thanks guys'

Rick cast
Midland, Texas
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I add a can of creamed corn between the beef and potatoe layer. I also add mushrooms to the ground beef instead fo carrots.
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dnash
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've also had some success using Guinness stout in place of the beef broth. And I usually add peas also.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fwendy wrote:
I'm not familiar with US varieties of potato, and it was difficult to tell from the photograph - is the russet potato a waxy or floury potato? The mashed potatoes didn't look quite as smooth as we would use in Britain for a Shepherd's Pie - we would use quite a bit more butter, and milk rather than water, to give a thick, smooth purée.

Russets are a starchy (floury) variety. Definitely the mashed potatoes could be made with more substantial ingredients. I don't usually both though because people (at least my guests) seem to focus more on the flavor of the meat and use the mashed potatoes for contrasting texture. Maybe even a palate cleanser - which is why I kept them simple for this particular dish. But there's probably no wrong way to make a shepherd's pie. Smile

fwendy wrote:
The rest of the recipe looks fine to my British eye, although most cooks I know make Shepherd's (or Cottage) Pie from the remains of a roasted joint of beef, rather than raw meat. It's a way of using leftovers for most families, rather than a dish they create from scratch.

Ah, yes. I forgot to mention that Shepherd's Pie was originally intended (and for most of the world still is used) as a way to prepare leftovers in a palatable manner. If you've got flavorful meat leftovers, chop it up and toss it in! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 2:01 am    Post subject: nice but wrong Reply with quote

what you made is a Shepherd's pie.

a cottage pie is a meat pie with mash potatoes on top, the key difference is cottage pie's have pastry base and side with no lid topped with potato's, Shepherd's pie's do not have any pastry.
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fwendy



Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 19
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have written that Shepherd's Pie is often made from the leftovers from a joint of meat (not just beef - lamb is probably more often used).

I agree with Michael's definition of a Shepherd's and Cottage Pie - neither of them have a pastry base.
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tank_girl369
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject: shepard's pie Reply with quote

I cook my vegetables in with my meat and I use all different vegetables so the flavors cook in together and I also add worcestershire sauce.
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Urgoll
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 7:35 pm    Post subject: Quebec version... Reply with quote

The Quebec version (called Pate Chinois in french) doesn't have the celery nor carrot, and you'd add two cans of creamed corn between the meat and the mashed potatoes...
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Shalmanese



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whenever I make beef stock, I always strip the leftover meat from the bones and make cottage pie with it. The meat is so tender from simmering for 8 hours and the beef stock is phenomenally good. I also use the rendered tallow that floats on top of the stock to saute the vegtables and the entire thing just ends up turning out intensely beefy and utterly delicious. Every time I've made it, I've increased the portion size by 50% and there are still no leftovers because everyone eats until they burst.
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PelaLusa
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:53 pm    Post subject: Hurray! Reply with quote

I'm an engineer and I love cooking. In your site I've found heaven!!!

Robert Werner
Vancouver, BC
http://PelaLusa.blogspot.com
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Rossitron
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 10:01 pm    Post subject: Great site! Reply with quote

Made this lastnight, very tasty!

Had one issue, I couldn't get the top to brown quite as nicely as your picture shows.

Keep up the good work!
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