Fine Cooking had a much better picture that I took.Do you know what cottage pie is? Honestly, I had no idea until the other day. I don't think I've ever made it before but I should have. It's just my kind of food.
Briefly, cottage pie is a lot like shepherd's pie. It has a very flavorful filling of beef and veggies with a fluffy potato filling. Shepherd's pie is generally made with lamb so I guess the beef makes it cottage-y as opposed to shepherd-y. What the heck. Why they couldn't call it shepherd's pie with beef is beyond me But these days a lot of things are beyond me.
So, back to the cottage pie. I was perusing, yes I peruse, Fine Cooking, and I came across this recipe for sweet potato topped cottage pie and it sounded good. I have made recipes for far worse reasons than that so I went for it.
And it was good. The filling had lots of nice seasonings in it, like cumin, chili, and cinnamon, so it was incredibly flavorful. I'm all for flavorful. The sweet potato topping was well, really sweet, and quite yummy. And I'm all for yummy.
Ted and the kids liked it too. This was remarkable mostly because Charlie usually gags at the thought of all mashed potato products. This is probably the result of mashed potato overload when we he was little and we had an Australian nanny who was constantly making him mashed potatoes. But I digress. Everyone loved it.
This is a very nice winter dish. It's hearty and rich, although not rich is the heavy cream sense of the word. Just rich and tasty.
And now we all know what cottage pie is.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
Fine Cooking Magazine, December/January, 2012
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb. total)
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and
Freshly ground black pepper
For the filling
2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ancho chile powder or other pure chile powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1/3 cup coarsely chopped raisins or dried cranberries
Prepare the topping:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and set them cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until very tender, about 30 minutes
When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and beat with an electric hand mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef, season with 2 tsp. salt, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but about 1 Tbs. of the fat; return the pan to the heat.
Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a small bowl and crush them with your hands or a fork. Add the tomatoes to the meat and cook, uncovered, until thick, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the olives and raisins and cook for another minute; season to taste with salt.
Assemble and bake the pie:
Tip: You can use another size dish for baking the pie, but keep in mind that the thickness of the meat and sweet potato layers will change, which may affect the baking time.
Transfer the beef mixture to a 9x9-inch baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes over the top in an even layer. Bake until bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Switch the oven to a high-broil setting and position the rack about 6 inches from the broiler element. Broil the pie until the sweet potatoes are a bit browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.