In honour of my late Nana, who passed away just over a year ago, a celebratory day was scheduled. One of her prized possessions was a cutout piece housed above the kitchen cabinets for everyone to see, ‘Irish Forever’ in bold and bright emerald green. So naturally, St.Patrick’s Day was the perfect day to commemorate her life.
I had to make something ‘Irish’ but also something simple and tasty — the same criteria that Nana would use to seek out a recipe; “a chef I am not” she’d say. Walmart’s magazine Taste Better often has recipes that catch my attention. Hey! The magazine is free too. March’s edition featured a recipe for Cottage Pie; like a shepherd’s pie but made with beef instead of lamb. Yum! So off I went to create our festivity meal.
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp 10% cream — I used milk; trust me, use cream
- 1-1/2 tsp olive oil
- 500 g lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced — I used jarred
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 398-mL can tomato sauce
- 1-1/2 cups beef broth — or any broth you have on hand; I used chicken
- 1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-1/2 cups frozen corn and peas — disdain for corn? Use peas and carrots like I did
- Cut up your veg. Potatoes, onion, garlic (if not jarred), and carrots (if you aren’t using corn).
- Cover chunked potatoes with cold water and heat to a boil 12 – 14 minutes. Drain, then return heat on high, mash and allow liquid to evaporate 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and cream. I used milk and I needed to add a lot more to make creamy. Set aside.
- Onto the meat. Heat a frying pan on high, add oil to the pan and brown beef 5 – 7 minutes until pink is gone, then add onions and garlic. Soften and then add flour, stirring in to help thicken. If you are
substituting carrots for corn, then add diced carrots in to cook, about 4 -5 minutes, before adding flour. Don’t drain the meats’ fat like I did, because that’s what becomes the flavour.
- Add tomato sauce, broth and Worcestershire and bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer allowing sauce to thicken 8 – 10 minutes. Then, stir in peas, 2 minutes to cook.
- Take a huge casserole dish (9×13 inch) and layer the meat mixture into the bottom, then top with mashed potatoes, spreading to make even.
- When ready to serve, raise the oven rack to the highest level, to place dish under the broiler to brown and crisp the potatoes.
It was DELICIOUS. My Nana would have been proud! I certainly was! I made it in a morning and then heated when my family came over to eat. This is definitely a possible make-ahead recipe because I think once it set up over a couple of hours at room temperature, the flavours married and become one.
We served a bit of grated cheddar cheese on the side so if desired, one could top the steamy potatoes with cheesy goodness.
Naturally, the meal wouldn’t be the best part of the day to my Nana… it would be that the family was all together. We haven’t celebrated this day before, but I’m sure we will do it again. A new tradition. It was my first homemade meal for a group of people. Thanks to my Mum, I followed the recipe right (I have a problem with skipping the ends of instructions).
After filling our tummies, and laughing until we cried. We finished off with a few St.Patty’s treats to finish off our Irish gala.
Try it and let me know what you think!
Check out the original recipe here.