Sunday, December 12, 2010

English Cottage Pie

We're back! We're no longer above the little Italian restaurant, but I can't say that we miss it. It's been quite a busy month, but we're (mostly) unpacked and loving our new house. After about a week of eating take out, we graduated to familiar, low-effort dinners. Now I'm finally getting my groove back in the kitchen and trying out some new recipes.

This cottage pie recipe from Cooking Light seemed like the perfect dinner for a chilly night. I made a shepherd's pie last winter, but we much preferred this one-it was easier to make and the flavors were a little more traditional (I say that like I have some authority on traditional English cuisine. Just play along. Jolly good then.).

I only made minor changes to the original recipe. Cooking Light often instructs you to saute your veggies in cooking spray. I think this is stupid, so I ignore them and use vegetable oil instead. I also used 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in place of a tablespoon of fresh. For the low-fat cheese called for, I really like Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar. If there's anything I like more than a mashed potato crust, it's a cheesy mashed potato crust. Yum.

English Cottage Pie
adapted from Cooking Light


1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  butter, softened
1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2  cups  chopped onion
1/2  cup  chopped carrot
1  (8-ounce) package cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1  pound  extra-lean ground beef
2  tablespoons  no-salt-added tomato paste
1  cup  fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  cup  chopped fresh parsley
1  teaspoon dried thyme
1/2  teaspoon  salt
Cooking spray
3  cups  leftover mashed potatoes
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
Paprika (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine flour and butter; stir well. Heat a large nonstick skillet and vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot; sauté 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove vegetables from skillet. Add beef to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in broth and pepper. Return vegetables to pan, and bring to a simmer. Stir in parsley, thyme, and salt. Add flour mixture, and cook for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.

3. Spoon meat mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly. Combine the potatoes and half of cheese; spread the potato mixture evenly over meat mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 6 servings

Download a printable recipe


Jacquelyn said...

I can't complain about a cheesy mashed potato crust :) Thanks for sharing your recipe adaptations- I can't wait to try it! Nothing like yummy comfort food on a cold winter night. Thanks from the farm families who own Cabot for using Cabot cheddar!

Anonymous said...

Wow - I have not had a shepherds pie in soooooooo long. It looks so good - I could eat right now at
9:00 a.m.... Yummy - cheesy mashed potatoes.........
All My Love, Auntie :) xoxxoooox

Ydougherty said...

Bec! I made this last week! Hosted a book club meeting, and since our book took place in London, we wanted to eat traditional British cuisine while discussing :) This was so yummy and everyone ate it up. Thank you! Keep the recipes coming!!