Cottage Pie with a Twist

As you will see with my recipes, I like REAL FOOD. Stick to your ribs, meat and potatoes and all that implies, especially during these cold winter months in Boston. To counter-act all of that goodness I must go to the gym. I have battled to maintain a healthy/curvy figure since college. Between my metabolism, my heritage and my love of all things food & wine I know that the gym is a required element in my life. Yes, the dog gets lots of walks, etc. but I have to take the time to get on a Spin bike (at Vital Cyle in Saugus ) or sweat it out at the Barre/Poise (at Studio Poise in Lynnfield ). My love of tennis keeps me busy on the court, but the doubles games are not exactly moving at warp speed.

On top of work, the gym and life in general I can get home pretty late. This is a great make-ahead meal that is good waiting in the fridge for a day or two before you re-heat and EAT!

So I try to find a balance between healthy and hearty. This recipe is a good example of that.

1 stock pot
1 Pyrex oblong dish (about 9×15)

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic chopped (you can sub garlic powder but not ideal)
1+ pound of ground beef (85% -15% use good beef, you’ll taste the difference)
2 or 3 cups of frozen carrots & peas mix (you also have the option to chop your own carrots and then frozen peas)
1 cup of frozen corn (optional, not required)
2 tablespoon of flour
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small chunks
3-4 small red potatoes, washed only – keep the skins – cut ½ or quartered
1 chicken bouillon cube
½ wheel of Boursin
½ to ¾ cup of milk, cream or half & half (you can also keep a bit of your boiling water in the pot to add to the moisture content)

Heat the pan with the oil on medium, put in beef & garlic and start to brown the meat, break up and stir occasionally. As the meat finishes browning (about 5-7 min) add in the peas, carrots, corn. Stir in the flour, Worcestershire sauce and herbs and mix everything together in the last few minutes over the heat. CAREFUL you now have flour in the pan so keep stirring and don’t burn anything.

Spray your Pyrex dish with some cooking spray and transfer the meat / filling to the dish (another great thing about Pyrex/glass dishes is that they go straight into the dishwasher – awesome)

Wash out your pot and then fill with about 2 cups of water, bouillon cube, cauliflower and potatoes. Boil/steam until JUST TENDER (again with other recipes do not overcook, they will turn to mush). It takes about 15 minutes. Drain, and mash in the milk and Boursin. Do not over mash, it should just be incorporated, nice and rustic. You do not want gluey, mealy mashed veggies.

Layer of the tops of your filling, cool and cover if cooking later. This stores really well for a day or two and then just pop in the oven to re-heat. Makes lovely leftovers for lunch too!

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until everything is bubbly and serve with salt, pepper and maybe (if you are feeling decadent) a little dollop of Irish butter or sour cream.

cottage 2

Change out ground beef for turkey or even BISON! Below I made the same recipe with sweet potatoes and ground BISON instead of beef and cauliflower/potatoes. It’s a nice change up but still an easy made-ahead meal.

Some people add diced onions or mushrooms to their filling, you can see if that is your style, but I tend to KISS (keep it simple stupid). Others add some tomato paste, I am totally against this but again you make your own way with recipes so test it out. Food is like art, it’s all personal taste and interpretation. Don’t buy art you don’t like and don’t eat food that doesn’t taste nice…SIMPLE.

You can top with Colcannon (see previous recipe)


By Emaly Hunt / @grapesandgarlic on the Instagram /





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