Ahh yes. That’s me (several years ago) in Ireland. I don’t remember much about that trip because, as you can see, I was quite young. However I did have Cork Cottage Pie every year when we would go on vacation down to the Sarasota area. There was a restaurant there called Lynches Landing that used to be right on the beach, but they’ve now moved up the street and changed their name to Lynches Pub & Grub. But no matter the name, they still serve Cork Cottage Pie.
This is my mom’s recipe for Cork Cottage Pie, however you could very easily use it to make Shepherd’s Pie instead. The only difference between the two is basically that the local shepherd’s pie uses ground beef whereas cork cottage pie uses sirloin. (or — shepherd’s pie uses lamb because the sheps herd sheep, not cows)
- Buy beef already cubed (warning though – the ready cubed beef is usually tougher and needs longer simmering time)
- Frozen chopped onions
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Frozen or ready-made mashed potatoes. My favorite are the Ore-Ida frozen mashed potatoes, but you can really use whatever you like.
- Sirloin fillets to cube (or you could use whatever other type you prefer. Sometimes Mom would make it with tenderloin and OMG!)
- Salt & Pepper to season
- Sherry (The Holland House sherry is by the EVOO at my store, with the cooking wines)
- Beef stock
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (optional)
- Vegetables to dice
- Mashed Potatoes
- Season beef with salt & pepper then cut it into cubes. Set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a fry pan with EVOO.
- Dice your onion and cook for just a minute or two. Scrape the onion to one side of the frying pan.
- Add the beef and brown it. (If you want to add some extra seasonings of your preference you can)
- After browning, add a healthy splash of sherry. Pour in a carton of beef stock to just about cover the beef.
- If you want a creamier sauce, add 1/2 to 1 can of your soup.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer very slowly. (Cheaper cuts of beef = a longer time at a lower temperature setting. Mine was on low for about 45 minutes or so)
- When you are close to the end of your simmering time, add the cut up vegetables. If you are using fresh vegetables, make sure they are room temperature before adding to the pan. Cooking time will depend on how small you cut them up… If you are using carrots, you want them to have enough time to cook so they aren’t hard or crunchy. If you are using frozen vegetables, cook or at least fully defrost them in the microwave first.
- Make your mashed potatoes.
- After the beef has had time to get tender, transfer it to a baking dish. (If there is too much liquid, drain some of it off first)
- Top with mashed potatoes. Drizzle some butter on top of the potatoes.
- Have a hot pad ready on your countertop! 🙂
- Broil your Cork Cottage Pie using a medium-lower shelf… not too close to the broiler.
- WATCH VERY CLOSELY and give it just enough time to get the top brown. Potatoes will go from the browned to the burned stage fairly quickly.
- Remove carefully as your baking dish will be extremely hot.
Some people make fancy designs when putting the potatoes on top, but you can really just take a fork and push them up into little peaks that will brown nicely. But I prefer the rustic charm of just plopping the potatoes on top and getting the uneven browning. It doesn’t need to look perfect, and it has more character if it doesn’t.