Featured Local Product: Pacific Natural Foods Beef Broth.
Whether you’re looking for a great way to finish a long day or craving a hot home cooked meal, shepherd’s pie made with healthy fresh produce and quality ingredients is an excellent option. Here you will learn how to make a fusion of Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie. Both savory pies are thought to have originated in medieval England where seasonings such as mace and nutmeg were used commonly in savory entrees. The pies are most likely variations of classic minced meat pies, which were extremely popular with the Tudor’s during medieval times. Shepherd’s Pie is nothing but a Minced Meat pie with potatoes added to the recipe, creating a savory, rich and creamy entree.
The difference between Shepherd’s and Cottage pies? Time and potatoes. Cottage pie is a much older term for the similar dish. Some say that Shepherd’s pie should contain lamb and Cottage pie beef. The reality is that we may never know the true intentions of the originators. Any kind of meat may be use but traditionally minced (ground) meat is preferred.
While today’s Shepherd’s pie has a layer of mashed potatoes on top, Cottage pies traditionally had a layer of potatoes on the bottom as well. The meat was sandwiched inside with an (optional) layer of cooked fresh vegetables between the meat and potatoes.
I conducted my research and used a combination of recipes ranging from the 15-1800’s in creating this recipe. And, of course, I added a few modern elements to appeal to our modern appetites!
I selected beef broth made by Pacific Natural Foods because I have used their products for years and can attest to their quality products. Pacific Natural Foods of Tualatin, Oregon produce organic broths and soups found at nearly all local grocery stores.
Velvety Shepherd’s Cottage Pie
5 lbs. potatoes
1 bay leaf or garlic clove (or both)
Heavy cream or milk, to taste
1 stick Butter (room temperature)
dash salt and pepper
2 lbs. ground chuck
dash Worcestershire sauce (optional)
¼ teaspoon each: ground caraway seeds, mace, clove, nutmeg, pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup raisins or currents
2 or 3 prunes, chopped
Fresh cut green beans and carrots
¼ cup Butter
¼ cup Flour
2 cups Beef Broth
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
1 large baking dish with high walls or 5 Au Gratin individual dishes.
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Place potato quarters into a large pot and add water until potatoes are sufficiently submerged. Heat to boiling. Add bay leaf and/or garlic clove and let boil until potatoes are tender, checking with a fork for after 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and transfer to a mixing bowl. Discard the bay leaf or garlic. Process potatoes with your stand mixer on medium-low speed. Slowly mix in the cream, butter, and seasonings until the correct consistency is achieved. Let cool.
2. In a large bowl hand mix together the meat, Worcestershire raisins, prunes and seasonings. Transfer mixture to a large skillet or frying pan and fry on medium heat until well browned.
3. Steam the veggies, raisins and prunes your preferred way. I use a metal veggie steamer filled with cut veggies, allowing the water to boil in the bottom of the pot for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Set aside, allow to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Increase heat to medium and add the salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while cooking for five minutes or until mixture begins to brown. Decrease heat to low and very slowly whisk in the beef broth. Add the kitchen bouquet and return heat to medium. Gravy will boil and thicken as you continue to stir it.
5. Combine the cooked meat and gravy. Keep warm over low heat while preparing the dishes. Line a glass or ceramic dish with ½ inch of mashed potatoes, including the sides or walls of the dish. Add one layer of steamed veggies mixture. Pour a hardy amount of the meat/gravy mixture on top of the veggies and add another layer of veggies on top. Start at the edges of the dish and layer the potatoes on top of the filling, working your way towards the middle. Use a spatula to create a slated pattern on the top layer of potatoes to encourage browning.
6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Increase heat to 400 for 5 minutes, browning the top layer of potatoes. The filling will be piping hot when served.
Enjoy this excellent medieval one-dish meal!