Yep. You are reading this correctly. Beef & Guinness cottage pie is a thing!! Combining my beef & Guinness recipe and classic cottage pie ingredients, I can only say with TOTAL confidence that this pie is perfection. Oh, and if that doesn't already sound great, then picture some cheddar cheese & chive mashed potatoes on top!! I've literally grabbed a wipe to clean the keyboard as I drool all over it........
It's safe to say that the times we are in are tough ones. People are worried, scared & afraid. Shops are looking bleak, and people's budgets are diminishing quicker than this beef & Guinness cottage pie did when placed in front of my family! I wish there was more I could say or do other than offer kind words of encouragement and recipes to feed the masses. I'm home 24/7 with my 3-year-old, and I think anyone and everyone in a similar situation knows the joy and pain of this. Definitely, times I will look back upon and wish I had of enjoyed them more so all I can say is cherish every moment you can with your loved ones.
Me, I'm setting Olivia tasks like - cleaning the skirting boards, cleaning the inside of cupboards, and other "exciting" chores. We have also painted our driveway with chalk to entertain her. Rainbows and people holding hands!! Funnily, we woke one morning, and someone had drawn masks on our chalk people and flowers in their hands. The beautiful thing about it is I see many people smile as they walk past - I guess this is how we are bringing joy/help to people. Through children's art!!
WHAT IS COTTAGE PIE?
Originating back in England in the 18th century, a cottage pie was any kind of pie that was topped with mash potatoes. Typically it was a way poorer people could bulk up food for their meals. Originally it was any minced meat dish that was topped with mash, but as time went on, we differentiated cottage and shepherd's pie from one another. Cottage pie is made from ground or minced beef, and Shepard's pie is made from ground or minced lamb. Cottage pie is often topped with grated cheese for a nice cheesy crust - TOTALLY WORTH IT!
CAN YOU FREEZE BEEF & GUINNESS COTTAGE PIE
You sure can!! In fact, I have some defrosting in the sink for dinner for the 3 of us tonight. Cooling the pie entirely is key to freezing it safely. Once cooled, portion it the way you want to and allow further cool in the fridge before placing it in the freezer. There are 2 schools of thought here. Should I freeze with or without mashed potatoes? The worry is once you reheat mashed potatoes will the water content of the potatoes makes the beef & Guinness cottage pie all mushy. Well, yes and no. The key is to allow the potatoes to steam a little to reduce the moisture content. This will give you a lighter and fluffier mash.
REHEATING BEEF & GUINNESS COTTAGE PIE
The quickest and most straightforward way to reheat most foods is in the dreaded microwave. Positive points to this are speed and efficiency. Negative aspects of this are moisture levels. Typically, moist food is the way you want to go, but not when you are trying to have a nice cheesy/crispy mashed potato topping. The alternative to this is the oven. It will definitely give crisp up that potato topping but also takes a little longer to do. I guess it all boils down to time and exhaustion levels. These days they are high, BUT I still like to pop it in the oven and wind down with a glass of wine whilst it reheats #winwin
What is Guinness? Well, if you don't know, I hope it's because you aren't old enough to drink!! Often described as a meal all on its own. Guinness is the holy grail of Ireland. Founded in 1759, it is a dark, dry Irish stout. Arthur Guinness is the man behind it all. It's now available in over 100 countries around the world and brewed in about 50. Guinness contains many antioxidants and is knows to help reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attacks. In fact, you used to get a glass of Guinness after donating blood in Ireland. If that doesn't make you want to, then what will!! Taste-wise dark chocolate and coffee are the first things that come to mind. Creamy, malty, and robust are other descriptors I would use. All in all, it's simply delicious and once infused with beef it can simply only be better 😉
Something SO simple that is so often ruined. I would be lying if I said I was the best at making mashed potatoes. I think that title was Joel Robuchon's if I'm correct with his ration of 2:1 potato to butter. The key to mashed potatoes is getting an even cook on the potatoes so that when mashing, you aren't left with lumps and to allow them to steam to release any/all moisture left in them. This will give you a fluffy potato for you to add butter, milk, half n half, sour cream, or cream to. At the end of the day, you can add whatever you think will taste good, but just remember to peel, wash, cut evenly, boil in salted water, steam and mash (without overworking the potato). Most importantly, stay away from the blender, that is you are looking to make putty!!
Naturally, when you think beef & Guinness cottage pie, you lean towards a pint of the dark stuff. But for those of you who are on lockdown or want a nice glass of wine to go with this, then look no further than the Chalk Hill Atomic Cabernet Sauvignon from the guys at WineDirect. When I cracked open this wine and tasted it the other day, I was hit with beautiful rich chocolatey notes. I instantly thought this would be cracking with my beef & Guinness cottage pie. I can tell you I wasn't wrong. At an rrp of $30 but $25 on WineDirect, it's a steal.
Notes of violet, chocolate, blackcurrant, bark, and tobacco coming through. Beautiful velvety tannins that gave me a lovely "furry" mouthfeel - in a good way!! It's drinking beautifully for a young wine, and I predict it getting better over the next few years. Buy a case I hear you say? Not a bad bit of advice!!
OTHER STEW/SLOW COOKED RECIPES
During these times and truthfully all times that we are busy working parents or just busy working full stop, it's great to have a few recipes up your sleeve that you can put a bit of time into on a Sunday arvo and be able to whip out at any time from the freezer. Here are a few other options for you guys to try too.
Beef Cheek Ragu by Yours Truly
Meditteranean Beef Stew by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
Scottish Lamb Stew by Yours Truly
Easy Chunky Beef Stew by Adrianne Jamieson of 'Sweet Caramel Sunday'
Slow Cooked Pork Mince Ragu by Donna Mansour of 'Whole Food Bellies'
Beef & Guinness Stew by Yours Truly
Milk Braised Pork w/ Marsala Sauce by Sarah McCleary of 'Belly Rumbles'
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- 1 kg Mince beef
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 brown onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 red chili diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 250 ml beef stock
- 440 ml Guinness can
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 bayleaf
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- salt & pepper
- 1 anise
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.3 kg potatoes peeled & chopped
- 100 g butter
- 100 g grated cheddar cheese optional
- Fry onion, carrots, garlic & chili in olive oil until soft – 4/5 minutes
- Add mince beef and cook until browned, breaking it up as you do it – 10/12 minutes
- Mix 4 tbsp flour with 100ml Guinness and set aside.
- Add remaining Guinness, thyme, bayleaf, anise, tomato paste, Worcestershire and beef stock to pot. Once simmering stir in the Guinness & flour mixture.
- Cook on medium heat (at a simmer) for 20/30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to reduce the cooking liquid until it’s a gravy like thickness. *see notes*
- Once reduced to your liking set pie aside to cool a little. *see notes*
- Chop potatoes to equal sized pieces and boil in heavily salted water until soft enough to mash – approx. 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and allow them to steam for a minute to remove moisture. Add butter, cream and 80g of grated cheddar cheese & chives. Stir to combine.
- Once pie mix has cooled sufficiently spoon the potatoes over the top and spread out. Using a fork make rough bits on the top of potatoes. This helps give you those delicious brown crusty bits. Sprinkle remainder of the grated cheese on top and bake in oven for 25/30 minutes @ 180c
- wooden spoon
- large shallow casserole pan
- chopping board
- chef knives
- cheese grater
- measuring tools
- potato masher
- large saucepan
- don’t skip the steaming step of the potatoes, leave them dry out a little before mashing
- when reducing the cooking liquid remember that when it cools it will dry out a little more BUT also remember that the liquid won’t reduce in the oven anymore so reduce it to the finished consistency you want
- by letting the pie cool a little first will allow you to spoon the mashed potatoes on top easier. If it’s still hot you can’t spread it as easy.