Cottage Pie with Shallots and Sherry

[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

About the author: Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass. Find more information at (or read

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Cottage Pie with Shallots and Sherry

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:25 minutes
Total time:1 hour 10 minutes
Special equipment:8- by 11-inch pyrex dish
This recipe appears in: British Bites: Cottage Pie with Sherry and Shallots


  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large) peeled and cut into rough 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato poaste
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup low sodium homemade or store-bought chicken or beef broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed


  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°F. Cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a simmer; cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and place back in the pot. Add milk and butter and mash with a potato masher. Season to taste with salt and reserve.

  2. 2

    Melt butter in a large stainless steel skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots, bay leaves, and thyme, and cook, stirring, until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook, stirring, until carrots begin to soften, about 4 minutes longer.

  3. 3

    Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are evenly coated with paste, then add sherry and cook until sherry is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add beef and mix with a wooden spoon until vegetables and meat are evenly incorporated and beef has begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer, stirring often to break up the meat. Simmer meat mixture until liquid has thickened and reduced by half and meat has cooked through, about 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Transfer meat mixture to bottom of 8- by 11-inch baking dish. Spread peas over meat mixture, then spread mashed potatoes over top of peas and meat. Smooth potatoes and decorate with the tines of a fork. Bake until top of potatoes begins to brown, about 35 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then serve.


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