Friday, April 29, 2016

If you have a cool (or cold) night--this is perfect.

While we're already deep into spring, Mother Nature doesn't seem to have noticed. We had frost earlier this week, which gave me a hankering for some good English comfort food.  I read a bunch of recipes for Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie and US recipes just weren't going to cut it, so I went to the BBC to find 3 different recipes--and all were quite different. I picked one and had to make some adaptations.  (Example:  Finding ground lamb around here was going to be a BIG problem, so I decided to go for Cottage Pie, which uses mince ... er, I mean hamburger.)

Last summer I found a really cool, OLD casserole dish that I knew would be perfect for this dish.
Casserole dish Here're the ingredients:

 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
 1 large onion, finely chopped
 2 medium carrots, diced
 2 stalks celery
 1 cup frozen peas
 1 pound hamburger
 1 tablespoon plain flour
 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
 3 tablespoons tomato puree or sauce
 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 16 fluid ounces of or beef stock
 salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mashed potatoes
 1½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into halves or quarters
 ¼ cup milk
 2-3 tablespoons butter
 1 egg yolk
 In a large frying pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and fry the hamburger, stirring, until browned all over. While the meat is frying, break up any lumps with the back of the spoon.  Add the flour and stir. Mix well and add the thyme, Worcestershire sauce and stir. Set aside.

 Boil the potatoes.
 Deglaze the hamburger pan with a little stock. and saute the onions, carrots, celery, and stock. Cook until the onions and carrots are soft.  (About ten minutes).  Add the peas and the tomato sauce.

 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Add the cooked hamburger to the veggies and bring to a high simmer, adding a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring regularly.  Once it's all heated through, put it in the casserole dish.
For the mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain, add the milk, butter and egg yolk, then mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
 Spread the mashed potatoes on top, smooth over and drag a fork over the top for decoration.
 Put the dish into the oven and cook until the surface is golden-brown. (About 40 minutes.)
 And here's a picture of my dinner.

 Serves 4 good sized portions.  Yum!  Enjoy! (And you just know this recipe is going to end up in one of my books, right?)

 What's your idea of comfort food on a COLD day???