It’s confession time. My husband loves cottage pie. That’s shepherd’s pie, a mixture of lamb and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes, but made with ground beef instead. I never make it so he keeps a supply of Blake’s All Natural Shepherd’s Pie in the freezer. It’s criminal, really, the depths that he has to stoop to get a taste of one of his favorite foods.
I’ve dabbled a bit with some non-traditional cottage pies, made with turkey or just vegetables and sweet potatoes. It’s just not the same. I’d set aside this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated a while back and finally decided to make it. I started with good ground beef, procured at our farmer’s market from Moon Meadow Beef. The recipe calls for lamb, but it’s really cottage pie that Larry likes so I figured the swap to beef would be fine (plus I don’t like lamb). The only other change I made was to swap the peas out for corn (and it didn’t have enough corn according to Larry). His ideal is really just the beef and corn in a simple gravy, topped with light, creamy mashed potatoes. Even though this recipe is prepared in a non-traditional way – starting stove-top and then finishing in the same skillet in the oven, it’s really delicious. I let the pan sit under the broiler for the last few minutes in the oven to get the potatoes to brown a bit. Find the recipe mid-way down on this thread. I’ll definitely make this again, but will probably try out Cook’s Illustrated’s lighter version first.