Most of us are at least familiar, at least by name, with Shepherd's Pie. How about a Cottage Pie? In Ireland, a meat pie was the traditional Monday meal because it was made from the left over remnants of the Sunday roast. If you had lamb for dinner, it was a Shepherd's Pie. If you had beef, it was a Cottage Pie. The vegetables mixed in with the meat were, of course, the left over vegetables from the prior meal as were the mashed potatoes. If you'd like to add another depth of flavor add a little red wine to the sauce. If not, it's perfectly delicious as the recipe is written.
When you're ready to top with the mashed potatoes, you can pipe the potatoes through a pastry bag, smooth them on with a spoon and make swirls like you would with meringue, or do as I did and leave an opening in the middle of the pie.
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or ground lamb
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, grated (or finely chopped)
1 t. chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 T. butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 T. tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup green peas (cooked, fresh, or frozen)
6 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish.
Brown the beef (or lamb) in a large skillet over medium heat, 8 - 10 minutes. Spoon off and discard fat. Push the meat to one side and cook the onion, carrot, and thyme for 5 - 6 minutes, until the onions are just turning translucent.
Push the onions and carrots to one side and melt the butter. Whisk the flour into the butter and then add in the tomato paste. Stir everything in the pan together.
Add the stock and Worcestershire and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas.
Turn the meat into the prepared dish and spoon the potatoes on top. Run the tip of a fork over the potatoes to make furrow and peaks so it will brown nicely. If desire, sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling, and the potatoes are browned.
From Real Irish Food by Dave Bowers