The Best Cottage Pie
The View From the Great Island
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, and washed
- 1 bunch thin young carrots or 2 regular sized, trimmed, peeled and sliced
- 1 and 1/2 lb ground beef short ribs (you can use regular ground beef as well)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (I always keep a tube in the fridge)
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup good beef stock or bone broth
- a sprinkle of Wondra flour (a quick dissolving flour) optional
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Mashed potato topping
- 1 and 1/2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the leeks and carrots for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Brown the ground beef, breaking it up as it browns so it has a nice crumbly texture. If it's excessively greasy, drain some off. I didn't, I like to retain the fat for flavor unless there's a ton of it.
- Stir in the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and broth to combine. Bring up to a simmer and let simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the broth to reduce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If your gravy is very thin you might want to stir in a sprinkling of Wondra flour, about a teaspoon to start, which will thicken it up instantly. Be sparing with it, a little will do.
- Add the vegetables back into the pan and mix well. Turn the mixture into a large pie plate or casserole dish. Spread out evenly.
- Meanwhile boil the potatoes until very tender. Drain and mash with the buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add more buttermilk if the potato mixture seems dry. Fold in the cheese and season with a little salt and pepper if needed.
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the pie. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and gently brush over the mashed potatoes.
- Put the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until browned and bubbling.