This recipe appears in:British Bites: Cottage Pie with Sherry and Shallots
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- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.