Monday, February 6, 2012

Downton Abbey Cottage Pie

Why watch the Super Bowl when there is a perfectly acceptable alternative that offers intrigue, passion, deceit, and the occasional laugh?’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'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.


From the Kitchen said...

Downton Abbey replaced the Superbowl for us!! I think the series is top notch. Season 3, which goes into production next month, will have Shirley Maclaine joining the cast as Lady Grantham's mother. The fur should literally fly between Shirley and Maggie.


KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

I very exciting!-- Joann

Maggie said...

Cottage pie made with minced beef, or shepherds pie with minced lamb, are two classic dishes that have never gone out of style in this house! Thanks for spreading the word about this great British comfort food.
BTW You may want to visit me back and enter my giveaway for the companion book to series 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey, there's still time before the draw is announced on Friday!

Carol at Serendipity said...

We love both versions but are more apt to make the cottage pie. Might make it this week! I just started watching Downton Abbey and I am enthralled.


KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

@ Maggie - Thanks for reading from across the pond! I hope my recipe for this British classic comfort stands up! I patched it together from a few I found. Entered your contest!
@ Carol - So glad you're enjoying Downton as well!

Howard S said...

Cottage Pie is one of my all-time favs! I drooled when I saw the photos. I could almost taste it looking at the recipe and photos!

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

@ Howard...if you try this version, please let me know who you like it! I'm curious to know how it compares to more authentic recipes.

LDH said...

I am not a tv watcher but I LOVE Downton Abbey! I was able to watch the first season via Netflix. How fun to make this English dish!

Michael Lee West said...

I missed Downtown Abbey, but I will look it up on Hulu. My son loves that ale. I am looking forward to making cottage pie!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I haven't seen it yet, but just sent out for the first season. This very much reminds me of the Shepards pie I make and what a great idea for a movie and dinner night...I love the theme!

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

@ Michael and will both love this show! Make sure to watch from the beginning or you may not understand what is happening all the time! We had a lot of fun with this mini event!