I haven’t post in my Jane Austen Challenge for a while. Spring is a very busy moment for my family and me. It is mid-term exams period for my students and my kids. Kids have to practice intensively because the regatta season starts, and I have to balance between job, home and shuttle the kids to the practice spot nearly every day. I felt I need some comfort food, and my mind went back to my early teens, when I first went to UK to improve my English. I discovered there the Cottage Pie, a very humble pie, when compared to others but tasty and very easy. You would say that there is no mention of Cottage Pies in Jane Austen’s work, and you would be right, but that very summer, our English teachers gave us “Emma” as one of our summer readings and it was love at first sight both with Jane Austen and UK.
I have travelled extensively in my life and lived in different country, but whenever I go to UK I have the same sensation than I get in Italy: “home”.
The recipe I suggest you, is my own recipe, the one that I developed in the years. The topping is prepared with the same procedure my mom was using to prepare her “potato pure” and enriched with cottage cheese. I hope you will enjoy this small Italian contamination of a traditional English recipe. Let me know.
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 chopped stalk of celery
- 700 gr beef mince
- 300 ml homemade beef stock
- 1 tbs white flour
- 1 bay leaf
- a pinch of thyme
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
For the topping
- 750gr potatoes, boiled or steamed and peeled
- 3 tbs butter
- 150 ml milk
- 100 gr. of grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 190’ C
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, the celery and carrot and cook over a medium heat until soft (the onion should be translucent).
- Add the minced beef and cook very well until is brown.
- Dissolve the flour in the warm beef stock and add it to the mince along with bay leaf and thyme.
- Cover and let it simmer for 30 minutes, it will be ready when the gravy has a creamy consistency.
- Meanwhile, to make the topping, mash the potato in a pan heat the butter over low heat
- Add the mashed potato to the butter, mix well and add the milk.
- When the milk is absorbed add the cheddar and stir until completely dissolved in the mash. season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the meat into an ovenproof dish (I used single-serve oven proof cups). Top with the mash and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.