Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cottage Pie.

Cottage Pie.

according to Food Timeline's entry on Shepherd's Pie, this English dish has its origins in the late Middle Ages (i.e. mid-16th Century AD). what began as meat served in pastry "coffyns" (coffins?) was only very late in the 19th Century cooked with mashed potatoes; the latter was a New World produce. Supposedly popular in the Northern regions of England and Scotland where sheep were in abundance (hence cooked with mutton and the name Shepherd's Pie), the pie became the people's answer to asian fried rice i.e. a creative way to rehash leftovers.

Shepherd's Pie = cooked with mutton
Cottage Pie = cooked with beef
Fisherman's Pie = cooked with fish

thesedays, it is but a relatively fuss-free dish for if/when you need to feed either an army of people or a ryce.

(for meat base)
500g beef mince
3-4 clove, garlic
5-6 cup mushrooms
2-3 sticks, celery
4-5 baby carrots
1 onion (using brown)
2-3 tomatoes (using roma)
1 can, cream of mushroom (not in pic; using campbell's)

(for mash)
3-4 potatoes (using brown)
4-5 bunch, parsley
2-3 tbsp, fresh milk
1-2 tbsp, butter

(for cheese topping)
Pizza Mix (cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella)

you will also need a baking pan of substantial depth, subject to how thick you want your pie to be.

Cottage Pie: Ingredients.


Step 1: Preparing Meat Mix!
finely chop up all your vegetables, separating the garlic and onion individually from the rest.

oil and heat up a sizable pan over a medium flame. when hot, throw your onions and beef mince into the pot and keep stirring. depending on how strong you like your garlic, you can either throw it in at this stage, or together with the rest of the vegetables later.

let it cook for 4-5 minutes before you throw the rest of the chopped up vegetables into the pan. don't forget to stir! while the vegetables are still cooking, add the cream of mushroom into the mixture. turn the heat down to a smaller flame, let it slowly simmer to a boil, and continue to boil for a while (3-4 minutes).

Cottage Pie: Cooked Meat Mix.

when that's done, pour the mixture into your baking pan and set it aside to cool for 0.5-1 hour. if you don't let it cool properly, the mash isn't going to sit well on your meat mixture. at this point, some people are known to put the meat mix into either the fridge or freezer even.

Making Mash Potato.
skin the potato before you put them in a pot of water to boil. add some salt into the water and let the potato boil for about 10 minutes or until it feels soft enough to mash.

meanwhile, mince or finely chop the parsley up.

when done, remove the pot from the fire and drain the water away. you may begin mashing the potatoes in the pot, adding the parsley, milk and butter in at this stage. mash and blend well until you get a relatively consistent and smooth mash.

Cottage Pie: Mashing Potatoes.

Baking the First Two Layers.
set your oven to preheat at 200 degree C.

apply the mash potato on top of the meat mix which by now should have cooled in the baking pan. when you have the meat mix nicely covered with mash, score the layer of mash with a fork.

Cottage Pie: Fancy Abstract Scores On Mash atop Meat Mix.

when ready, put the whole baking pan into your oven and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven after. apply the cheese on top of the mash, ensuring that you've got all the mash more or less covered.

Cottage Pie: Cheese Layered Baked Mash.

return the pan into the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until your cheese turns a lovely golden brown!

Cottage Pie: Cooked.

Final Serve.

Cottage Pie: Final Serve.

ryce and i both enjoyed it quite a bit. though this version of the cottage pie is a little shallow on the mash potato. so if you're a fan of mash potato, you might have to up the number of potatoes in your attempt.

also, i realised that the meat mixture was a bit too wet for me. but this is more of a problem if you're gunning for presentation points like i do. to ease the problem, you can always drain some gravy from the meat mix before you apply the mash on top.


ETA: 25 1615 November 2006 Saturday.
my friend fiq made a mince beef mix last week by frying the mince beef with tomato ketchup, black pepper and i think a bit of soy sauce. it tasted great! so ketchup might be an easy and inexpensive substitute for the cream of mushroom.

1 comment:

Gouri said...

Do we also have a veg pie (cooked with vegetables)? :)