It’s that time of the year again..
Where the green beers flow and parades spring up across the island and city in celebration of Irish heritage..
In the past it was like a sign that spring and warmer weather was right around the corner when shamrocks and leprechauns adorned the towns windows, doors and yards in anticipation..
Though in recent years March has been snowier and colder I still look forward to Saint Patrick’s day and all it entails..
So in preparation of the merrymaking I decided to reach back to my Ó Céileachair (anglicized to Kelleher) ancestors and recreate my version of the “Cottage Pie”
Usually listed as “Shepherds Pie” in the local Irish pubs and eateries, Cottage Pie is traditionally made with beef while Shepherds Pie is made with lamb..
Mine uses braised boneless short ribs, red wine and Jameson whiskey slow cooked with vegetables before being baked inside a pie crust with fresh whipped mashed potatoes on top..
Makes for a pretty cool entrance when entertaining especially if served with some of the red wine & whiskey you cooked it with..
Hope you’ll give my creation a try for yourself, it truly won’t disappoint..
“Shepherds Pie” (Cottage Pie)
2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
10 ounce bag frozen peas
1 1/2 cup chopped celery (I use the celery from the center of a bunch with the leafy greens and everything)
2 cups baby carrots, halved (I use organic bunny luv brand)
10 ounces pearl onions (you can use defrosted frozen birds eye in a pinch)
1/2 cup Red Wine (Malbec, Pinot, whatever your preference is good here)
2 1/2 shots Jameson’s Irish Whiskey
2 cups Flour
1 cup Beef bone broth
2 cups of water or more if wanted
22 ounces (1 1/4 pounds) prepared mashed potatoes (having extra is fine)
1 1/2 ounces Stew Seasoning mix (recipe below or use McCormick brand if needed)
Fine sea salt and black pepper
Paprika, course salt and chopped parsley for garnish
Prepared pie crust (use your favorite or try the recipe below)
Springform Pan (I have a special 8 inch pan with extra high sides which comes in handy for this)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Butter or non stick spray for pan
Options: (Gluten Free)
Replace flour in everything with your favorite gluten free alternative and equal parts cornstarch mixed with extra fine gluten free flour for a Wondra alternative (not perfect but close)
I have a Gluten Free pie crust as well that you can use below, its drier (extra gravy fixes that) and a little trickier to work with (breaks apart so you have to form it inside pan by pressing and shaping it) but good!
Trim edges if necessary of unwanted fat off the boneless short ribs, then cut into chunks about 2 inches in size. Mix flour, 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 2/3 teaspoon of pepper together in a bowl. Toss the short ribs in flour mix to coat.
Heat a deep sided pot with lid on medium high heat (I use a cast iron Staub Perfect Pan, but a Dutch oven pot or other can work similarly)
Add oil and short ribs to pot, brown the meat, turning it every few minutes being careful not to burn or over cook it..
Pour in the red wine and 1 1/2 shots of whiskey and then deglaze the pan getting up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add 1 cup of beef bone broth, your stew seasoning mix (homemade or store bought) and stir. Finish by adding 2 cups of warm water..
Then cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally..
Meanwhile prepare your pie crust and pre-bake it in your springform pan. You can use your favorite recipe or my coconut flour or gluten free flour pie crust recipes (I’ve used in previous recipes like the spaghetti pie) After 7-10 minutes set aside to cool while you finish cooking..
Prepare your whipped mashed potatoes by peeling, dicing, boiling and then mashing them with 2 tablespoons of butter and a little cream so they’re light and fluffy..
After 45 minutes add all of the vegetables except for the peas and then continue to simmer, covered for another hour..
Next strain off the gravy & pan juices reserving for later. Toss the short ribs and vegetables with the peas..
Now fill your prepared pie crust with the meat & vegetable mixture gently pressing down for a tight fill (will help it keep its shape) until you’re about an inch or so from the top..
Now either gently spoon the potatoes or like me use a giant zip lock bag with a large opening piping bag tip to evenly add the potatoes without shifting the filling below..
After you’ve filled the entire dish (An saving any leftover meat, veggies & potatoes you couldn’t fit for later in a container) smooth the top and sprinkle it with a little paprika & chopped parsley..
In a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven place the entire springform and bake for about 30 minutes until the top begins to lightly brown around the edges (careful not to burn)
Remove and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes, sprinkle some coarse salt across the top and then run a small sharp knife gently around the edge of the springform to release the potatoes before opening it.
Gently undo the latch/hinge of your pan and slowly ease it open (after putting it on whatever serving plate you plan to use)
If you drained the gravy off and made your pie crust thick enough then you should be good here (failure is always an option but let’s be positive) So raise the springform sides off of your Shepherds(Cottage) Pie being careful of the potatoes and set aside..
Take your gravy, heat it in a small pot to warm it up. To thin it add a little water or beef bone broth a tiny bit at a time if necessary. I was more then okay with the amount leftover but you can always create a larger amount adding store bought or additional liquid during the earlier cooking. Finish it by adding a little more Jameson’s whiskey a teaspoon at a time. Stirring it and tasting it to ensure you haven’t gone overboard (You want a hint of whiskey flavor in the finishing)
Now serve with the prepared gravy on the side or poured over each piece cut. Cut like a cake but using a long serrated knife to gently cut down the sides and through each piece (the little extra effort helps keep the pie crust intact) and use a cake server to remove each piece and plate it..
I’ll serve it with gravy poured over top each piece but you can just use a gravy boat and let your guests or family decide how they like it..
I’ll also pour the same wine I used earlier in cooking as a pairing to this dish, whether it was a Pinot Noir, Malbec or other..
“Beef Stew Seasoning Mix”
1 cup Instant Flour (Wondra or create a gluten free alternative using ultra fine gf flour & cornstarch mixed together equally)
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp Paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tbs Celery Seed
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp. rosemary
Measure all of the ingredients into a medium bowl, mixing very well. Pour into a jar, cover & add a label with directions for use..
“Potato Pie Crust”
1 cup gluten free flour (or regular)
2/3 cup mashed potato flakes
1 tablespoon ice water
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/4 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 scoop unflavored baking protein (If using Gluten Free Flour - 24g protein)
1/2 cup light butter, softened & added in spoonfuls
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk the eggs, water, oil & butter extract in a stand mixer..
In another bowl whisk the remaining dry ingredients together until combined..
Pour the dry and wet mixture into a mixer and combine on low speed..
Add the cubed light butter. Process until it looks like crumbles (If Gluten Free, regular flour blends and holds better)
Squeeze the crumbles together with your hands until you form a ball of dough..
Roll out the needed dough between two pieces of parchment paper and flip over into pie plate or springform pan (Gluten Free pie crust will want to break, just use your hands to fill and form the dough inside)
Using a fork randomly make holes into the bottom of the crust using the tines..
Pre-Bake the crust 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden..
Once cooled out of the oven, add your filling..