Why watch the Super Bowl when there is a perfectly acceptable alternative that offers intrigue, passion, deceit, and the occasional laugh?
Bonus....it’s a British production.
And, the costuming is more appealing and the characters are less dodgy. Well, there is the cheeky lady's maid and her conniving sidekick, the footman. And let's not forget the valet's wretched ex-wife, the crooked newspaper mogul, and that little trollup of a maid.
Oh, there's the Turkish diplomat who suffered an untimely and scandalous demise and the scullery maid who's neither mean or manipulative, just maddening.
Besides them, this show offers a refined cast of characters.
My Wednesday evening dinner mates and I gathered for a Downton Abbey marathon on Sunday evening and we thought serving something British was in order so we enjoyed Cottage Pie along with a few pints of Boddingtons.
Wikipedia informs me that Cottage Pie or Shepherd's Pie is a meat pie using any kind of leftover meats and vegetables with a mashed potato crust. Commoners typically made the dish and the name "Cottage" originated from the term describing the modest dwellings of the rural workers who commonly ate the same.
The movie, The Holiday, featured one such cottage. Blimey, I wouldn’t mind that “modest dwelling.”
"Shepherd's pie" is sometimes incorrectly used synonymously with "cottage pie" however, the term “shepherd” is only correct if the dish is made with mutton or lamb...because shepherds herd sheep and not cattle.
What is mutton anyway? The meat of a sheep?
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (the fattier cuts are probably the tastiest)
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons garlic
1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, peas
1 can of corn
4 large potatoes
1 stick of butter, divided
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
Peel and cut the potatoes and boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, melt 1/2 a stick of butter in large frying pan. This will seem like a lot of butter...it's not. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and the carrots and sauté for another 2-3 minutes more, then add the peas.
Add ground beef and Worcestershire and sauté until browned. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep the mixture moist moist.
Mash the potatoes with the remaining butter, season to taste and add a bit of milk if they are too thick. I mash potatoes in the very pot I boiled them in….it’s still hot, keeping the potatoes warm and there is one less dish to wash!
Add the corn to the beef mixture and place it in a baking dish, then spread the mashed potatoes on top.
Cook in 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Broil for last few minutes to brown the potatoes.