Cottage Pie for Pi Day

To celebrate Pi Day, QC organised a Pi Day Pie Day. I’ve had an English person on the mind a lot lately, so I wanted to make a shepherd’s pie. However, I found out that shepherd’s pies typically contain lamb, and cottage pies are the ones that contain beef, so I ended up making a cottage pie instead. As you might have guessed, I’m a bit in love with Serious Eats, so I used their recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/10/shepherds-pie-beef-lamb-recipe.html

Preparation wasn’t that difficult, just a bit time-consuming chopping and peeling vegetables.

Making the mash was pretty straightforward. The recipe says to add the potatoes to water and add salt until it’s salty like the sea. I am not sure how salty the sea is, so I added a crapton of salt, which is also another unhelpful measurement. I’d say about 1/4 cup of salt. As I didn’t want dairy in this, I substituted the butter for margarine, but found the taste wasn’t a strong, so I had to add another couple of tablespoons. Instead of the cream, I just put 1 cup of soy milk and that seemed to cream the potatoes enough for the topping.

The meat sauce was also simple. I remembered from our Italian pasta sauce cooking class that one thing that adds a lot of flavour is to let your meat stick to the pan a bit. Those lovely brown bits, which you can loosen once you add the red wine, add a lot of flavour to your sauce, courtesy of the Maillard reaction. The sauce was quite similar to the pasta sauce we made, but rather than starting by cooking the sofrito, you brown the meat first. The recipe also suggests adding Worcestershire sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for umami, but I skipped the cheese.

As I was assembling it, I realised it probably wasn’t very suiting to make a rectangular-shaped pie for Pi day, but oh well, too late now. I may have filled it a bit too much…

I also should have cooked it a bit longer, as the celery seemed a bit undercooked, and there was a bit too much liquid (though the second part is probably related to filling it too much, as the recipe did say to only fill it halfway).

Transporting it was a bit of a challenge….

QC made a mac ‘n’ cheese and bacon pie, chicken pot pie and an apple pie. Rei brought a beef and red wine pie. I think there was another pie, but I can’t remember what it was. Lots of pies.

Was nice to see some old faces, and discuss what makes a pie a pie, and whether a pizza is a pie or not. And what makes a sandwich a sandwich.

Happy pi day!

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