Cottage pie seems to be unknown in the United States, though it might seem to be typical of American cooking. It is mashed potatoes with beef and gravy, very simple and easy to prepare, and good comfort food. For each person, use about 6 oz. of ground beef (20% fat) and one average potato. Prepare the mashed potato as normal, by peeling, cutting the potato into chunks, boiling until tender, mashing, and mixing with butter and a little milk. Meanwhile, break up the ground beef and put it in a skillet with about half a cup of finely chopped onion and half a cup of chopped carrot. Sauté until the meat is brown and the onion is transparent. Add about 1 to 1-1/2 tbsp flour, mix and cook a little, then a cup of water, a tbsp Worcester sauce and a tsp of mixed herbs, if you desire. Boil gently for about 20 minutes, until the meat mixture is reduced and thick. Butter a small glass casserole dish (a loaf pan will do) and pour in the meat mixture. Drop spoonfuls of mashed potato on the top until it is mostly covered, and smooth out. This could be done with a piping bag for better presentation. Place in a 350° oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the meat mixture is just bubbling. Just spoon it out to serve, or eat it from the casserole dish.
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 13 January 2004