Nothing warms the heart (and the stomach) in winter more than the mashed potato-topped casserole known as Cottage Pie. In a land where sheep were traditionally a primary food supply, it’s not surprising that lamb is the foundation for many Irish farmhouse dishes, especially this long-time favorite originally created as an economical way to use leftover lamb. The meat and vegetable pie, which is topped with a crust of mashed potatoes flavored with Kerrygold’s Cheddar or Dubliner cheese, is a perfect January meal with a fresh green salad and a good bottle of wine!
Cottage Pie with a Cheddar Crust
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 carrots, diced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups mashed potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded Kerrygold Cheddar or Dubliner cheese
* In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Working in batches, cook lamb for 5 to 7 minutes per batch, or until all the meat is browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a large bowl; discard fat.
* Melt butter in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and carrots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and flour; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in broth, thyme, and parsley, scraping up browned bits from bottom of the pan; return lamb to skillet.
* Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until mixture thickens; season with salt and pepper.
* Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8- or 9-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray; spoon lamb mixture into prepared dish.
* In a medium bowl, stir together mashed potatoes and half the cheese. Spread or pipe the mashed potatoes over meat mixture, dot with butter, and sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is browned and mixture is bubbling. Serve immediately.