I’m behind schedule with the French Fridays with Dorie since this recipe was featured on October 22, 2010. However, I had about a pound of deli roast beef that needed to be used, so I decided to try this recipe which appears on pages 258 and 259 of Around My French Table.
I was a bit hesitant to try this given that I’m married to an Englishman and have been making Cottage Pie for some time. For the purist, Cottage Pie uses beef. Shepard’s Pie uses lamb.
Anyway, this was an opportunity to use the deli roast beef and to try another recipe from Around My French Table.
The story that precedes Dorie’s recipe indicates that the dish is generally made from leftover beef. However, the actual recipe uses uncooked beef. Since I was using leftover beef, I improvised a bit. I cut the deli roast beef into 2 to 3-inch pieces, put it in the food processor, and pulse processed it to produce small pieces, or minced beef. I set this aside.
Dorie’s recipe called for a small onion that was boiled with the beef. Since I wasn’t boiling the beef, the onion didn’t come into play. However, I couldn’t imagine making Cottage Pie or any variation thereof without onion. Therefore, I began the cooking by sautéing a minced large onion in about a Tablespoon of Olive Oil for about 10 minutes. I added the minced beef and cooked sausage, and cooked the mixture in a large frying pan for around 15 minutes.
I then added the beef broth and tomato paste called for in the recipe. I brought this to a boil, and thought that the mixture needed some thickening. I therefore added around 2 teaspoons of Bisto mixed with an additional ¼ cup of beef broth. Also, I couldn’t resist adding several teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce! I covered this mixture and cooked it over low heat for an additional 30 minutes, before pouring it into the baking dish.
I cooked the potatoes according to the directions in the recipe, but put the drained potatoes in the oven on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil at 350° F for five minutes. I remember doing this for a Julia Child’s potato recipe to steam as much of the cooking water off as possible. I used my potato ricer to process the potatoes.
I added the milk, cream and butter and mixed the potatoes until smooth with a wooden spoon.
To improve the presentation, I piped the potatoes onto the meat mixture using a 1M star tip. Per the recipe, I dotted the potatoes with small pieces of butter, and topped with shredded Swiss Cheese and Parmesan Cheese.
Into the oven at 350° F for 30 minutes, finished by several minutes on broil and voila – a masterpiece!
The overall conclusion is that this was extraordinary – as good as if not better than my Cottage Pie! The addition of the sausage was a definite plus. At this point, however, it’s hard to say whether the extra effort in this recipe for the potatoes versus basic mashed potatoes was worth it. Be that as it may, I’ll definitely be making this again!
[print_this]Recipe Per My Modifications
1 large onion, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound left-over roast beef, or deli beef, minced in food processor
½ pound Jimmy Dean sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled
1¼ cups beef broth
2 teaspoons Bisto
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
1 Tablespoon salt
½ cup milk, heated
¼ cup whipping cream, heated
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup shredded Swiss Cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
In a large frying pan, sauté onion in olive oil for ten minutes. Add the minced beef and crumbled sausage; mix well. Cook for 15 minutes more. Add the beef broth mixed with Bisto, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, until thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Check for seasonings. Transfer to a 2½ quart baking dish. Set aside.
Cook the potatoes in water in a large saucepan with 1 Tablespoon of salt for 20 minutes, or until they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Place drained potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Place in oven for 5 minutes to remove as much of the water as possible. Rice the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the heated milk and whipping cream. Stir with a wooden spoon to blend. Add the butter, and continue stirring until smooth. Season to taste with the pepper.
Spoon the potato mixture over the beef, making sure that all edges are covered. Alternately, pipe the potato mixture onto the beef using a 1M star tip. Top with 1 Tablespoon of butter, broken into bits, shredded Swiss cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to broil and broil for an additional 5 minutes or until the potatoes are a golden brown. Yield: 4 servings.[/print_this]