Ah, cheddar topped cottage pie! When it comes to cottage pie and shepherd’s pie, I’m pretty much a girl who can’t say no. It’s not like I don’t have multiple recipes for various variations of this recipe. And during the course of collecting all of these recipes and blogging about them incessantly, I have learned the difference between shepherd’s pie (lamb) and cottage pie (beef). I’ve made it with and without peas, with sliced potatoes and mashed potatoes. You’d think I’d be over it by now.
But no. Because I realized I had not yet tried it with cheddar cheese (Cabot cheddar of course) mixed into the mashed potatoes, and that was all the excuse I needed to put it back on the menu for the one millionth time. It was a new recipe! It included cheese! I had no choice!
So here’s what we’ve got. The base is a mixture of carrots, celery, onion, thyme, tomato paste and beef. And since I have learned the correct terminology, I know that this means that what I am making is cottage pie. The topping is made of mashed potatoes (and I always use this completely wonderful, always reliable mashed potato recipe from The Pioneer Woman site. Yukon gold potatoes, cream cheese…you pretty much can’t go wrong.) You spread this glorious mashed potato wonderfulness over the beef mixtures, sprinkle some cheese on top, and you get this:
Delicious, comforting, cheesy cottage pie. I have no idea why it is called cottage pie, but since it is, and since it includes a good-sized amount of Vermont cheddar cheese, it seems like a good enough reason to show you the closest picture I have to a cottage, which is our beloved Vermont cabin.
So, the next time you want a completely soothing and wonderful comfort food, or want to make something with “cottage” in the title, or (like me) just can’t resist recipes that include mashed potatoes…here’s your recipe.
- 4 cups mashed potatoes (either store-bought or homemade. I like The Pioneer Woman's recipe)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola
- 6 medium carrots, cut into halves and then quarters
- 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar (as always, I love Cabot!)
- Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour and tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
- Add beef and cook until browned. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat over to 450. Mix 1 cup of cheddar into mashed potatoes. Put the beef mixture into a large casserole and spread mashed potatoes over the top of it. Scatter ½ cup cheese over the top.
- Bake until golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then serve!