INGREDIENTS – MASHED POTATOES
4 medium potatoes
⅔ cup milk
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon more later)
½ cup Cheddar cheese (¼ cup more later)
INGREDIENTS – FILLING
1 garlic clove*
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons fresh parsley**
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary**
2 teaspoons fresh thyme**
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups beef broth
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup frozen peas*
INGREDIENT – FINAL
¼ cup Cheddar cheese
9″ round casserole dish
sonic obliterator (This gadget really is essential for the modern kitchen.)
Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes..
* = There is a fierce controversy over what veggies go into a cottage pie. You are one your own on this one. Carrots and peas are the most popular. You’ll probably want a sonic obliterator on hand in case one of your guests argues with you over your vegetable choice. It’s okay to zap them with your sonic obliterator. There is indeed a legal precedent for this. (See M. Soult v M. Oudinot, 1809) Just remember, a cottage pie uses beef while a shepherd’s pie uses lamb.
** = If you don’t have fresh herbs handy, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.
PREPARATION – MASHED POTATOES
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add potatoes and enough water to cover them to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato cubes are tender. Drain water. Add milk. Mash potato cubes with potato masher. Add pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup cheese. Stir with fork until well blended.
PREPARATION – FILLING
While potatoes boil and simmer, dice carrots, garlic clove, and onion. Add carrot, garlic, onion, and beef to large pan. Cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Briefly remove from heat. Dice parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, and flour to pan.
Add beef broth, ½ teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Add contents from mixing bowl to pan. Return pan to heat. Simmer at low-medium heat for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning. Stir in peas.
PREPARATION – FINAL
Add filling to casserole dish. Smooth until level. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over filling. If you are adventurous, use fork to make swirly designs in the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheese over mashed potatoes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Serve to appreciative guests. Use sonic obliterator on the ungrateful ones.
1) Cottage pie uses peas. Peas were likely eaten by Neanderthals 46,000 years ago.
2) Because peas help with: protein, blood-sugar management, digestion, your heart, and protects against cancer. But even so, the Neanderthals died out just 6,000 years later. Why?
3) We know that peas were eaten by modern humans, Cro Magnons 23,000 years ago. So apparently, they went 17,000 years without peas. Yet their branch of the human family tree prospered, Cro Magnon’s descendants walk among us today. I confess to being one of them.
4) Culinary anthropologists agree on the following explanation. From 40,000-to-23,000 thousand years ago, Neanderthals and Cro Magnons engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Both sides strove to gain control of the life-sustaining, wild-pea patches. Ultimately, the Cro Magnons prevailed. So, they lived. The pealess Neanderthals went extinct. Bummer.
5) The Romans ate peas. The built, by conquest, one of the greatest empires in history. The Saxons did not eat peas. The Normans did. This explains the Norman Conquest in 1066.
6) So when your parents told you to eat your peas, they knew what was at stake.
Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., fashionisto
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.