I was making my weekly meal plan and trying to figure out what to do with not quite a pound of ground beef. “What about a shepherd’s pie?” I asked the room.
“Shepherd’s pie sounds awesome!” raved Bud. “I love a good crust.”
“But Bud,” I replied, “shepherd’s pie doesn’t have a crust.”
“I bet you could make one, Mom.”
I used to make a mean shepherd’s pie back in the day. Or, at least, we called it shepherd’s pie. Basically it was saute some ground beef, toss it in a pie plate with brown gravy and mixed vegetables, top it with mashed potatoes and cheese and bake it just long enough for the cheese to melt.
As I was researching shepherd’s pie recipes for a pie crust adaptation, I discovered that what I’ve been calling shepherd’s pie is really cottage pie.
According to Jamie Oliver:
Shepherd’s pie should only be named as such if it contains lamb, and “cottage” usually applies to one made with beef. In fact, the term “cottage pie” predates “shepherd’s pie” by more than a century.
As usual, I couldn’t find a recipe I liked 100%, so I scrounged from a few, plus added my own favorite touches (can’t forget the cheese!) The result was declared DELICIOUS by all.
Cottage Pie In Pastry Crust
1 1/2 sheets, frozen puff pastry dough
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shredded Mexican four cheese blend
Half and Half
Take puff pastry out of freezer about 40 minutes before filling. You want it to still be quite cold, and the filling piping hot. This seems to prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy.
Wash and peel the potatoes and carrots. Cut the potatoes and carrots in half. Boil for about 20 minutes. Remove the carrots and chop roughly. Mash the potatoes with butter, half and half, and salt to taste. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large frying pan, saute the onion, garlic and herbs until the onion is tender. Add the ground beef and cook until brown.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in flour, lemon pepper and salt. Pour in the beef broth and carrots and stir until mixture thickens. Add a little more flour or broth, as necessary, to get the proper consistency.
Trim puff pastry and place in the bottom and on the sides of a 9″x9″ square pan. Pour in the beef mixture. Level it out. Place the mashed potato on top and level it out. Cut the remaining puff pastry into thin strips and place around the 4 edges of the pan. Sprinkle the exposed mashed potato with cheese.
Bake for about 55 minutes, until cheese and potato are browned. You may need to place foil around the edges for the last 10 minutes or so, so the thin strips of puff pastry don’t burn.
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