Actually cottage pie as true shepherd’s pie is made with lamb or mutton. (which is older lamb.. or sheep, lamb is like veal is with beef, under one year old)
So this recipe is what would be called cottage pie, but we don’t have ground lamb, or I haven’t seen it, so we use ground beef and call it shepherd’s pie.. so the bottom line is, if you make it, you can call it any darn thing you want. *stomps my foot*
It is Shepherd’s pie. lol.
I guess I should try to post a bit of a list of things to toss in and a method.. though for this I usually just do it.
1 pound or 454 grams of ground beef. Lean.
One large onion or two smaller ones, or two leaks.
One tin of cream of mushroom soup (stop rolling your eyes)
Parsely 1/4 cup chopped fine
Thyme 1 teaspoon
Red wine 1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup, grated
Olive oil or butter (read on to see how much)
Potatoes (how many is tougher as the size varies so much. 4 big ones)
Beef soup stock 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper enough
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of balsamic vinegar.
Chop the potatoes, I cube them so they cook faster and absorb more flavour. Boil the potatoes in just enough water to cover them, this is where you put the tablespoon of beef stock, no salt in the water.
Chop the onions or leeks into small pieces and Brown them with the ground beef and drain away the fat, add the red wine and simmer for a few minutes until the wine reduces, you can use white wine too, mix in the soup (do not add any water or milk to it), and seasonings including the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.
Spread in a large casserole dish or many smaller ones so you have single servings. (pssst you freeze them)
Mash the potatoes, I usually add a bit of milk to make them spread a bit better and butter, maybe a 1/4 of a cup. Add the chopped parsley. Taste to see if salt is needed, add some pepper.
Spread over the beef, cover it well to seal it all in, use a fork to make the top have tiny mountains and valleys. Then poke a few holes like you do with a pie crust to let steam escape, and the sauce to bubble up onto the top.
Sprinkle with the cheese and drizzle with olive oil or spread tiny pats of butter over the top. I will often add a spice or herb now as well, anything you think would be nice, from dill to paprika.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, I finish off by broiling it until the top turns to a golden brown.
Sometimes I will add chopped red or green peppers to the ground beef. Sometimes peas or corn. Asparagus is great too. Often we will chop up avocado and add it after it is cooked.