I don’t know about where you guys live, but where I live here in Baltimore, MD, it hadn’t quite felt like fall for the majority of September and October. Seriously, not until yesterday did it feel moderately fall-ish. I swear Mother Earth didn’t get the memo on September 22nd that autumn had arrived, because it was still reaching the high 80’sF every day. All I wanted was to put on my cozy sweaters and basic-as-hell boots, and frolic in the fallen, fiery leaves. But no. It had to be hot. And there were no leaves in which to frolic.
But yesterday, praise the heavens, the temperature never got over 62F, and oh boy, oh boy. It felt GOOD. And for the first time in a long time, I felt compelled to cook something that wasn’t the standard issue tacos, or spaghetti.
Yeah, it’s true. I’ve gotten really lazy in the kitchen ever since Genevieve was born, resorting to preparing boring food. It’s no fault to her, but I tell you, by the end of the day when it’s time for dinner, I’m exhausted. Caring for 3 kids, 2 of which are under 3 and one of which is constantly breastfeeding, is a rewarding yet intense job. Making sure the house is clean, laundry is done, shopping is complete, cats are fed and clean… it’s a lot to be a stay-at-home mom. So I’m sorry to my family for falling back on easy meals that lack any imagination. But those meals saved my sanity for so long.
But while it saved my sanity, it didn’t take long for me to feel a bit insane, and get bored. I lacked any desire to get in the kitchen at all, dreading the task I used to get excited for. Dinner used to be my zen. I would get in there, and fall into a groove where I could drown everything out, and create something awesome with my hands for my family. In my own little way, I considered my dinners to be gifts to those I love. Yeah, they may not always be great, but it was something I took pride in. But somewhere along the way, I lost that love and passion for food and for creating in general.
But yesterday, when that cool air hit my skin, when the briskness of the day wrapped around me and my cozy sweater, not only did a smile erupt on my face, but a renewed spark of creativity was ignited in my being. I was ready to cook and create and make. Yep, I got excited again.
Using my brand-spankin’ new Samsung Smart Refrigerator featuring the Family Hub, I was able to find the PERFECT recipe for something perfectly comforting from AllRecipes.com, right there on the refrigerator door. We’ve had this fridge for about 2 weeks, and the novelty of having a tablet right there in the door has not worn off.
Anyway, like I was saying, I found the perfect recipe for something perfectly comforting for my family for our first feels-like-fall day of the year. I had a sudden craving for shepherd’s pie, but I didn’t want to deal with lamb. I learned that the ground beef version of a shepherd’s pie is known as a cottage pie, so that’s what I set out to make. But none of the cottage pie recipes I looked through were up to what I wanted.
I ended up using the AllRecipes.com app to find Larry Short’s recipe for A Scotsman’s Shepherd’s Pie. What set it apart from everyone else’s recipes was a Guinness gravy, and that was music to my ears. I loved the idea of including Guinness in this meal, and plus, my husband is on a Guinness kick these days, so we had some in the fridge already. How convenient!
I stuck pretty close to the recipe he posted to the site, but as is usually true for me, I strayed a bit off the beaten path and tweaked it a bit to our tastes.
The result was something beautiful. I was really proud of this meal. I will be straight forward with you on this, it wasn’t one of those meals that’s quick and easy. I mean, it wasn’t complicated, but I didn’t stop doing something for nearly an hour. I really enjoyed the creation process, but it’s something that you should know ahead of time. In case you were looking for something quick, this isn’t that.
The cottage pie was deep, like a warm hug, and savory. Each bite warmed me up from the inside out. The flavors were meaty, earthy, and it was really hearty. The meal was comforting to our souls. All of us enjoyed it, and Michael even went back for seconds. I will for sure make this again.
This would be an awesome meal to make for a Meal Train or to make ahead and freeze.
If you decide to make my take on a Cottage Pie, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.
- 2 large potatoes, mashed (about 5 cups)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
- 1 egg yolk
- Salt & pepper
- 1.5 lb ground beef
- Olive oil/pam
- 1 (15 oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes with juice, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup Irish stout beer, like Guinness
- 1 cube beef bouillon
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 cup shredded shape cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Peel potatoes, and cut into small pieces. Put in pot, cover with water and set to boil. When potatoes are fork tender, drain potatoes, and mash them. Stir the potatoes, sour cream, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of butter, the egg yolk and some salt and pepper together until smooth.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan, or use pam to grease the pan, over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef, and drain off all of the grease. Set aside.
- Add carrots and onions to the pan, and cook until the carrots get tender, yet still firm. Add the ground beef back to pan, and stir together. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes with the juice, and simmer until the veggies are all tender. Add peas, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until the peas are heated through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Heat the beer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef bouillon, cook and stir until the bouillon is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a separate pan over medium-low heat until melted. Whisk the flour into butter until it forms a thick paste. This should take about a minute. Stir in the beer mixture and soy sauce until the gravy is smooth and thick. This should take about 3 - 4 minutes. Stir the gravy into the ground beef mixture, and simmer until everything is thickened up. ** If the mixture isn’t thickened after 5-10 minutes, add small amounts of flour at a time to the mixture, stir and it should thicken up quickly.
- Pre-heat your broiler, and grease a 9x13 casserole baking dish.
- Pour the ground beef mixture into the dish, and carefully spoon mashed potatoes over the mixture, covering it like a crust. Sprinkle the cheese, parsley and smoked paprika over the top of the potatoes.
- Broil until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted. This should take about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
I am in no way whatsoever sponsored or affiliated with Samsung, AllRecipes.com or Guinness. I just love all of these things. They have no idea who I am, but I stand by them.