Cottage Pie with Curried Beef, Acorn Squash & Peas

Judd and I started getting a produce box delivered to our house about 2 weeks ago. Our thinking was that we would experiment with vegetables that we do not normally buy at the market and in doing so, our culinary feasts would be expanded. Well, it worked. Looking through the fridge this week I noticed we had some beef on hand, along with the usual array of onions, a plethora of garlic and many cans of chicken and beef stock. The less than usual ingredients included potatoes (strange that is an unusual item, I know) and an acorn squash. Judd piped up and shouted, “Shepherd’s Pie!”. I thought, “what the hell, I’ve never made a Shepherd’s Pie… today seems as good a day as ever to give it a go.” I came to find out that when you make this dish with beef it’s called Cottage Pie, as opposed to it’s similar friend Shepherd’s Pie that is made with lamb.

Not knowing where to start, I looked up a few recipes, none of which really spoke to me in the entirety of their ingredients. So, I combined them in what turned out to be a damn tasty dish!

Makes 4-8 servings

Filling:

1 acorn squash, seeds discarded
2 teaspoons curry powder; 1 1/2 teaspoon reserved for onion mixture
Course kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds chuck or round beef roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
All purpose flour
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken or beef broth
3/4 cup frozen peas

Topping:

8 (about 2 pounds) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk, add more as needed

For Filling:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut acorn squash in half and discard of seeds and pulp. Slice into 2 inch wedges and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender (blog plug!!!). Remove from oven and set aside until cool. Once cool, scoop soft flesh out of the skin and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Sprinkle beef generously with coarse salt and pepper, then dust with flour to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of beef. Sauté until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer beef to large bowl. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add 1 additional tablespoon oil to same pot, if needed. Add onions. Cook over medium-low heat until very tender, about 10 minutes (bottom of pot will be very dark). Stir in ground coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder and garlic to onion mixture. Let simmer until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add wine to pot. Increase heat and boil until wine evaporates, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add beef with any accumulated juices and top with 2 cups chicken or beef broth. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour. Uncover and continue to simmer until lamb is very tender and gravy thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir in acorn squash and frozen peas. Cook until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

For Topping:

Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to same saucepan and mash lightly. Add butter, garlic powder and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mash mixture until smooth. Spoon mashed potato mixture over over beef; smooth top. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bake until heated through and potatoes begin to brown around edges, about 30 minutes (or about 1 hour for casserole that has been refrigerated). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Pretend you are in an English Pub. Cheers!

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