It’s the middle of winter, and if you’re anything like me, you’re aching for a home-cooked meal. Walking into a Japanese supermarket can be depressing this time of year, as I see nearly none of the comfort foods that got me through twenty-one New England winters. The bagels are missing, the pizza is covered in squid ink, and the cereal aisle is two feet wide. I’m learning fast that if I want a taste of home, I’m going to have to make it myself.
Last weekend at a potluck, a friend served up a cottage pie. The mashed potatoes layered over minced beef and vegetables was exactly the taste of home I’d been looking for. In fact, I thought the pie was so good that I decided to make it again the next day for myself.
Cottage pie makes a great meal for a party or yourself because it’s big, cheap, and delicious. The recipe below could easily feed 4-5 people or last one person almost a week.
To start, preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Next, heat up a pan over medium-heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is hot (the oil should be near, but not at smoking point), throw in one large diced onion and one diced carrot. Cook the onions and carrots for about five minutes until the onions turn slightly translucent. Be careful of the heat, because you don’t want to color the onions.
After this, throw in your ground beef and peas and season with salt and pepper. For flavor, I add about a tablespoon each of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Once the beef and vegetable are cooked, give it a taste to check the seasoning and you’re done. If too much fat has rendered out of the meat, you can add a spoonful of flour to thicken it up.
While the beef is cooking you should have about five potatoes (peeled and cut in half) on the boil. Once they are soft enough to easily slide a fork into, drain out the water, and in the same pan begin to mash. Once mashed, add a knob of butter (about two tablespoons), a quarter-cup of cream, and plenty of salt and pepper, then whisk (if you have it, add some goat cheese or parmesan). Like the beef, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary
To wrap things up, grab a pie pan and poor in the beef and vegetables. On top of that layer on the mashed potatoes. Put into the preheated oven at 190 degrees and cook for 18-20 minutes. When the bell rings, it’s go time.
1 small can of peas
400-450g minced beef
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tblsp Ketchup
¼ cup cream
2-3 tblsp butter
1 tblsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste