Few dishes are as perfect for a chilly winter night as a cottage pie. Often known in the US as a shepherds pie, cottage pie features hearty winter vegetables and beef, typically topped with a cloud of creamy mashed potatoes. I decided to improvise with the flavors a bit and made the filling with tender grass-fed beef, sweet winter carrots, celery, red onions, and kale ribbons. For the topping I opted for the unique flavor of parsley root instead of potatoes. If celery or parsley roots aren’t available in your area, potatoes will definitely be delicious. Feel free to experiment with this basic recipe and make it your own.
Cottage Pie with Parsley Root and Bay (adapted from Simply Recipes)
1 very large parsley root or 4 medium, or 3 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform 1/2″ chunks
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 red onions, diced
4 – 5 carrots, peeled and cut into half moons
5 stalks celery, sliced
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
4 bay leaves
fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 large leaves kale, cut into thin ribbons
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 x 3″ casserole dish and set aside.
Place the parsley or celery root, or potatoes, in a large pot filled with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 – 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain. Mash parsley root with 4 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 4 tablespoons butter, and add the red onion. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and have taken on some sweetness. Next add the ground beef, and a teaspoon of sea salt, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, Worcestershire sauce, mustard seed, bay leaves, and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. Add the kale and cook 2 minutes more. Check salt levels and adjust as needed.
Spoon filling into prepared pan. Cover with vegetable mash, and use the tines of a fork or a spoon to add texture to the surface. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the peaks have turned a rich golden brown and the filling is bubbling vigorously.
Cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.