Do you like to try traditional dishes wherever you go? I do, too much probably. Sometimes I spend more time looking for the best restaurants to try traditional dishes than planning my trip. I think the cuisine can tell us a lot about culture, people and lifestyle of whatever place you visit. Besides, you need to eat properly to regain your strength for sightseeing.
Today’s traditional dish is one of my favourites Irish dishes: Irish Cottage Pie. Cottage pie is an Irish pub grub staple and if you visit Dublin you’ll see it on every single menu. You should try it if you get the chance!
I know, I may have used a few atypical ingredients in this recipe, but as far as I’m concerned, the only two mandatory ingredients to make a “real” Cottage Pie are potatoes and beef. I live in Ireland at the moment and some Irish friends told me that they also add leftovers like: peas, mushrooms, boiled potatoes, ground meat, cheese, etc. Let’s make our own unique combination!
The mash layer is quite thick and if you don’t season it properly it could be a bit boring so I’m going to show you how to master a tasty and crisp mash crust:
-Let’s add some parsnips to it, it’ll make the mash a bit sweeter and lighter.
-Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of ground cumin to make it more vibrant.
–How to get a crispy top? Before baking the pie make some small marks on the surface of the mash with a fork, it gives the mash a better texture and also browns more easily.
I hope you like this Irish cottage pie, now you are ready for St Patrick’s Day. If you visit Dublin let me know I can recommend you the best places to try all the traditional Irish food.
Comforting Irish Cottage Pie Recipe, an Irish pub grub staple that you can make at home easily with a few handy ingredients.
- 150 g ground beef
- 1/2 leek, finely chopped
- 8 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 medium rip tomato, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) red wine
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) hot meat or vegetable stock
- coarse salt & ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
- 4 parsnip, peeled and chunked to smaller size than potatoes
- 4 tspe light cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (just if you have some)
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
While the potatoes are been cooked, place a medium saucepan on a medium heat and pour in 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the leek and cook for 3'. Then add the carrots and mushrooms and let cook until softened (about 8-10')
Add the minced beef to the pan and add 1/2 tsp ground garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and some thyme leaves. Cook until meat turns brown then increase heat to high and pour in the wine. Cook until it has evaporated then lower the heat to a medium heat.
Add the broth and the tomatoes to the pan. Simmer for 10' until it becomes a creamy sauce.
Try and season to taste. Set aside.
Place chopped potatoes and parsnip in a pot and cover with enough water to boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for about 20' or until you can easily pierce potatoes with a folk. Drain and keep 1/2 cup of the liquid.
In a large bowl, mash the cooked potatoes and parsnip with a fork until smooth. Poor in 3 tbsp of cooking liquid and the cheese, beat well and season with the spices and add salt to taste. If the texture is too thick for you add more liquid but be careful, we want to make a firm layer of mash as the topping the pie.
Preheat the grill to high, or use the oven at 175º degrees.
Spread the beef mixture on a shallow heatproof dish, then cover it with the potato mash. Make small marks with a fork on the surface, it will allow the mash to become crispy.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and grill for 30' or until golden and crispy.
*Optional leftovers add-on: white beans, red peppers, celery, peas..