Beef Shepherds Pie aka Cottage Pie Because I Couldn’t Find Lamb

Beef Shepherds Pie aka Cottage Pie Because I Couldn’t Find Lamb

Attention meat and potato lovers! Welcome to my Shepherds Pie with Beef, which I’m told by one of my readers is actually called Cottage Pie.  This is essentially a thick hearty beef stew covered with light and fluffy mashed potatoes that are crisped up under a broiler. What’s not to love?!?

The original recipe called for lamb (I guess that’s where the Shepherd comes from in Shepherds Pie), and I love lamb, but I couldn’t find the right lamb at my local store, so beef it is!  Also, I switched out the peas for edamame because I love edamame and I think it holds up better than peas over time.

Beef Shepherds Pie aka Cottage Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Anne Burrell

Print-Friendly Recipe

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cubed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large leeks, white part only, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup frozen edamame (or peas)

Coat a wide pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and toss with the flour. Add the meat to the pan and brown well on all sides.

Remove the meat from the pan and reserve. Add a splash of new olive oil, if necessary.

Add the leeks, celery, and carrots to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and meat back to the pan and stir to combine.

Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste starts to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it reduces by 1/2. Add enough stock to just cover the surface of the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bundle.

Bring the stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. When the stock level reduces replace with more to keep the meat submerged. The mixture will thicken up and the flavors will intensify during this time. Remove the lid from the beef and add the edamame.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes more.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.  When done, the mixture should be thick and stew-like. Remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle and discard. At this point, you could store the stew for a day or two in the fridge. In fact, like most stew, its even better if you can serve it the next day. When you are ready to make the pie, prepare the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover by 1-inch with tap water. Season the water with salt and bring the water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the water from the potatoes and pass them through a food mill while they are still hot.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Whisk the cold butter and hot cream into the pureed potatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. The potatoes should be creamy and very flavorful.

Preheat the broiler.

Transfer this thick beef stew either to a casserole dish or to individual ramekins. Spread the mashed potatoes over the lamb mixture in an even layer.

Place the baking dish or ramekins under the preheated broiler. Broil until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy.

This dish reheats exceptionally well. We ate 1/2 of the casseroles the first night and the rest two days later. 2 minutes in the microwave on medium heat followed by a quick visit to the broiler and they were just as good, if not better, than before.