Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is one the easiest and fastest dishes that can be made at all time for is recipe is very simple. Traditionally, this pie consists of ground beef covered with a mashed potato crust. However, if beef is substituted with lamb the resulting pie is called shepherd’s pie. Apart from the two; cottage and shepherd’s pies, there are many other variations that have been developed in different locations due to the availability of different types of meat. The most common variations include:

  • St. Patrick’s day pie which uses turkey and ham instead of beef.
  • Fish pie
  • Vegetarian or shepherdless pie, this uses meat substitutes such as soya, tofu or quorn, and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils.

There are many other versions of this awesome pie that are made in different countries using other foods such as pork, potatoes and a combination of any other food with beef.
History

The term cottage used to name the pie has been in use since late eighteenth century; at this time, potatoes were being introduced as the staple and affordable food for the poor, or peasant who lived in cottages. Initially, the dish was developed to utilize the leftover meat which could have been thrown away. In the early times, the term shepherd’s pie was non-existent. Both beef and lamb pies were referred to as cottage pie. The choice of the word was based on the fact that shepherds are for sheep rather than cattle.

Simple cottage pie recipe for 6 Servings

Despite the presence of different personal variations on some of the ingredients such as pepper, sauces, herbs and cheese, the recipe below can act as a guideline.
* Mis en place or prep time: 30 minutes
* Cooking/Oven time: 40 minutes
* Total coking time: 70 minutes or 1 hour and ten minutes
Ingredients
* 2 cups or 450g ground beef
* 900g peeled quartered potatoes
* 6 tbsp fresh milk
* 110g Cubed butter, and another 1 tbsp melted butter for the sauce
* Seasoning
* 1/2 tbsp meat dripping
* 1 cup or115g onion finely chopped
* 1 cup or 115g chopped carrot
* 1 minced clove garlic
* 600ml fresh meat stock
* 1 cup or 115g white mushrooms (chopped)
* 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley finely chopped
* 1 tbsp all-purpose corn flour
* 1 cup or 115gms cheddar cheese (finely grated).

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Replacing the beef alone in recipe produces shepherd’s pie Method of preparation
1. Pre heat the oven (spring temperatures) to 190 degrees or 375 degree Fahrenheit or gas mark 5
2. Boil the potatoes to soft texture and then drain the water
3. Gently melt the butter in milk
4. Mash the potatoes in the milk plus butter mixture

5. Add seasoning (salt, ground pepper) and move to one side of the pan.
6. Melt the lard, and the put it in a deep frying pan. Then add the chopped onions, then carrot, and fry for at least 5 minutes.
7. Add the minced garlic and then cook about a minute.
8. Add the ground or minced beef and a quarter cup fresh meat stock to the onion, garlic and carrot mix, and continue cooking, stir gently till the beef is browned.
9. Slowly add the rest of the stock (three quarters of the cup), finely chopped parsley, white mushrooms, seasoning and cover it a lid and let it cook for about 15 minutes.
10. Carefully mash the corn flour into the 1 tbsp melted butter and slowly add to the brown grounded meat sauce, stir gently for about 5 minutes for the flour to dissolve making the sauce to thickened abit.Finally, place the beef sauce into an (8 inch or 20cm by 3 inch or 7cm) deep baking ceramic, or glass oven-proof container and coat with the mashed potatoes.
11. Evenly sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on surface of the potato coating. Then bake it for approximately 40 minutes to when the surface is crispy browned. Then serve immediately when still hot.
Other ingredients that can be added to the cottage pie recipe
* Beef substitutes such as lamb, pork, potatoes or legumes
* Tomatoes or ketchup
* Worcester sauce
* Corn kennels
* Herbs such as garni, thyme and bay leaf
* Celery
* Wheatflour combine or substituted for cornflour
To achieve the ideal pie, there must be the use of the best and well prepared ingredients; the meat must be slowly cooked to remain juicy, the gravy must be of the best quality, and potato mash be well seasoned. Any other ingredients must be added at the cook’s risk.
Requirements in Cottage Pie Preparation
Apart from the ingredients there are other items that contribute to the desired pie quality. The basic

items needed include:
* Weighing scale
* Appropriate ovenproof dish
* Mincer and Chopping knives
* Oven
* Frying pans
* Grater
Precautions in Pie Making
* Strictly follow the recipe
* Avoid spoilt ingredients
* Avoid food contamination especially the meats
* Wear the appropriate clothing such as aprons and oven gloves to avoid burning and soiling your clothes.
* Consider the consumer status such as age and medical status to avoid some of the ingredients such as pepper
* Always use clean preparation materials
* Avoid greasy ovens
* Strictly observe the recommended timings
* Prepare inadvance for an inventualities
* In case of injury of burn seek medical health immediately
Commercial viability of Pie making
For the pie recipe is simple, anyone can commercialize the endeavor. These pies can be produced in mass for both commercial and events consumption. The recipes can be modified easily to produce many servings with no much difficulties. In many regions, pie are fast moving thus the indulgence in their production is a business opportunity for those seeking extra cash. The pies can be sold in food stores and events such as sports, community exhibitions, meetings and many others. The capital input for the ingredients in pie making is very low making the profit margins to be higher than most of the other foods. The labor intensity is low thus a few people can produce pies in mass. When it comes to equipment, the pie making business has very little capital need. The only major cost is on the oven. The power costs can be cut significant through the use of alternative power sources such as solar , biogas instead of electricity which is expensive. Use the above basic recipe which you can freely modify to produce the pie of your liking and your family will enjoy it to the fullest!