The UK: Cottage Pie…

I was born in Burford, a Cotswold town in Oxfordshire, England. Burford is considered the “Gateway to the Cotswolds”, in fact. This area is truly the heart of England. Stone cottages and charming villages breathe comfort into the air here. Burford is as warm and welcoming as Cottage Pie.

Origins. According to Wikipedia, cottage pie is a traditional method for using leftover roasted beef, using mashed potato as a convenient pie crust. In early recipes, the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.

Usage. The use of previously uncooked meat is a recent adaptation, suited to the techniques of commercial food processing companies. Early cookery writers did not use the terms “cottage pie” and “shepherd’s pie” and the terms did not appear in recipe books until the late part of the 19th century. From that time, the terms have been used interchangeably, although there is a popular tendency for “shepherd’s pie” to be used when the meat is lamb.

Variations. In North America a variation on shepherd’s pie, sometimes called Chinese pie or cowboy pie, is made with a layer of ground beef, a layer of corn and a layer of mashed potatoes. French Canadians call this variant pâté chinois. Peas and carrots are commonly mixed with or used to replace corn. In the northeastern U.S., green beans are often used instead of corn, and frequently a layer of tomato sauce is added to the beef. In the midwestern U.S., ground beef with cream of mushroom soup and green beans are topped with mashed potatoes or hash browns and baked until brown and crisp.

Here is my simplified recipe:

* 1 lb ground beef
* 1 tablespoon corn starch
* 1 packet Goya brand Pollo (chicken) seasoning
* 1/2 cup veggies (carrots or green beans or peas)
* ¾ cup chicken stock
* Instant Mashed Potato Mix for 6 servings (IF you have time to make your own, knock yourself out)
* salt and pepper

Place the beef in a large fry pan. Break up the meat into small pieces–no chunks please. Mix 3/4 cup chicken stock with corn starch. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add 1 packet pollo seasong to the stock mixture. When the beef is cooked through, add the stock mixture and stir thoroughly until combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, simmering for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be thick.

Prepare your instant potato mix according to instructions.

Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish. Spoon the potato mixture on top of the beef, covering it completely.

Place dish under the broiler for as long as it takes to give the potatos a nice golden, rustic appearance.

Delicious and Quick. Enjoy!