Some of the best dishes have variations when making them. With changing even just one ingredient, it can be called and considered something else. One of those dishes is shepherd’s pie, or better yet, cottage pie.
The term cottage pie had surfaced in 1791 with most commonly using beef for its meat layer. This was the time when the potato had been introduced to the poor as an edible food source. The reason for calling it Cottage Pie was because that was a term used to describe the modest dwelling of rural workers.
It wasn’t until 1854 that the term Shepherd’s Pie would appear. At that time it was used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of the type of meat being used. In more recent traditions in the United Kingdom, a shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. While looking at early cookbooks, you’ll see that this dish was meant to use leftover roasted meat. Not just beef or lamb.
While there have been variations in history, one thing that remains true, is that there is a layer of meat, a layer of simple vegetables, and a top layer of mashed potatoes. Any extras are exactly that, extra. So why not try for extra flare on a historic and classic dish, to make a new and delicious version.
Dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, or Cottage Pie, can always taste so differently depending on so many factors. What do you season the meat with? What kind of meat will you use? Which vegetables do you want to use? Lastly, what type of potatoes do you prefer? Here is a version that will take you back to older times, while making you grateful for a modern twist.
What you need:
- 6-10 White Potatoes
- 1/4 – 1/3 Cup Butter
- 1/4 – 1/3 Cup Milk
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 lb Ground Italian Sausage
- 2 Cups Peas
- 2 Cups Corn
- 1 Diced White Onion
- Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Sage, Minced Garlic, Thyme+)
- Mild Taco Seasoning packet (Hot if you like spicy)
- Grated Cheddar Cheese and or Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
The first thing you will want to start on are the potatoes. These will take longer than anything else. Peel, rinse, and cut the potatoes to boil. Once boiled, drain the water and start mashing. You will know that the potatoes are ready by using a fork to press into the potato. If it easily goes in, and breaks, it’s done. For delicious and creamy mashed potatoes, use 1/3 cup of butter and milk. For best mashed results, begin mashing with nothing added. Then you may add the butter, and continue mashing. At that time, add the milk and once again mash until no chunks.
While the potatoes are boiling, add the beef and Italian sausage together in a large skillet on the stove. Break down while mixing together. You may add the fresh herbs and minced garlic to the meat. Cook on medium heat. Once you notice the meat is about 90% cooked, drain the grease, and then add the suggested water from the taco seasoning packet. Reduced to low heat, and add the taco seasoning. Mix well, and cook until the liquid is all gone. Drain off any excess grease one last time and then add the meat to the bottom of your pan dish.
While your oven is preheating to 350 degrees, make an even layer of ground meat for your bottom layer. After you combine the peas, diced onion, and corn, make an even layer of the vegetables. Using your delicious and creamy mashed potatoes, make the final layer. Using a fork for the cooked lines, spread the potatoes and make your own design. If you love cheese, use some grated cheddar and or parmesan to sprinkle on top. If you decide to use a bit of both, use the cheddar first and then the parmesan.
Cook the meat pie for about one hour in the oven, or until you see a beautiful crusted light brown top.