Well, it’s still pushing ninety degrees over here in SoCal. While my social media is flooded with scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, and actual long pants, I’m shvitzing in front of the fan and trying to remember a time when it wasn’t summer.
In an effort to encourage the arrival of fall weather, I chose the coolest day of the week (78 degrees! Brrrrr!) and made cottage pie. It’s bountiful, bubbling, and downright cozy. It’s the dinner equivalent of a snuggly flannel shirt. And for now, it’s as close as I’ll get to feeling like it’s October.
2 lb. chuck roast
2 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped celery
1.5 c. frozen (or fresh) peas
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. red wine
2 c. beef broth
4 russet potatoes
1 stick butter
Dice your chuck roast in large 2″ cubes and dry them with a towel. This is so important, as drying the beef will allow it to brown properly.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven or wide-bottomed pot. Give the beef cubes a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper, then place them in the oil to brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set them aside on a plate.
Now add all of the vegetables (except for the peas!), garlic, and herbs. Simmer away for five minutes over medium heat, then add the wine and broth to deglaze the pan. Add the beef back into the pot, cover, and simmer on low for 2 hours.
While that is bubbling away, start on your mashed potatoes. Peel your potatoes and boil them until fork tender. Remove to a mixing bowl and whip (by hand or with mixer), adding 3/4 stick of butter as you go. Season with salt and set aside.
Remove the beef chunks from the pot and shred with two forks…it should be falling apart tender. Meanwhile, leave the juices and veggies to simmer and reduce. Add the flour and a knob of butter to help it thicken. Now add the shredded beef and frozen peas, stir, and remove from the heat.
If you are using a dutch oven, you can add the potatoes directly on top now. If you would rather use a casserole dish, then pour the beef and veggie stew into a casserole and cover with the mashed potatoes. With either method, finish in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the mash has a golden crust.
Serve with an enormous glass of delicious Cabernet.