19 Jan Cottage Pie with Root Vegetables
The classic comfort food, just updated with creamy celeriac & golden rutabaga.
Rutabaga doesn’t get enough attention. Personally, I think it’s one of the best root vegetables, I love it’s sharp flavour, and it’s ability to give a golden creaminess to any dish. It’s easy to find rutabaga are most grocery stores, just look for it near the sweet potatoes. It typically comes with a thick waxy coating, just use a sharp vegetable peeler or knife to cut away the wax along with the skin of the rutabaga.
Celeriac root is bit more tricky to find. It’s more common in the colder months, and is often found at farmers markets and winter markets. It’s a bit gnarly looking, with tight hairy roots on the bottom. I slice these off, and then use a vegetable peeler on the rest of the blub. The flesh is snow white, and when cooked, as a very celery forward taste and creamy texture.
Most cottage pie recipes use ground meat, but I find that the texture becomes a bit too rubbery and mushy. Instead, I like to start with tough cuts of round steak, or stewing beef, and let them develop lots of flavour and tenderness by braising them in the oven. This results in a cottage pie with lots of meaty flavour, and tender chunks of meat.
Cottage Pie with Rutabaga & Celeriac
- Avocado Oil
- 1 rutabaga, approximately 1 lb
- 1 celeriac root, approximately 1 lb (or sub with sweet potato)
- 2 lbs beef stewing meat or round roast, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 onions, white, minced
- 1 lb mushrooms (white or cremini), sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed & minced finely
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
- 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
- 1 cup carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, full fat
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- Start making the mashed root vegetables by peeling & chopping the rutabaga and celeriac root into large 1-2 inch chunks. Toss the root vegetables into a large stockpot filled with water and place on high heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a fast simmer and cook the vegetables for 15-20 minutes. Once they are cooked, turn off the heat and cover.
- While the root vegetables are cooking, begin browning the stew meat. Drizzle enough oil into a large frying pan (be sure it's oven safe) to coat the bottom, approximately 2-3 Tablespoons. Heat the frying pan on medium high heat, and when the oil begins to shimmer, add 1/2 of the beef stewing meat and cook uncovered and undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, or until a deep brown develops on the meat. Flip the pieces of meat, and brown the other side. Once the meat has some browning, remove from the pan and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Continue working in batches to brown the meat, being careful not to overcrowd the meat. Add more oil as needed.
- Once all the meat is browned, deglaze the pan by adding a the apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water. Use a wooden spoon to scrap up all the fond that has developed on the pan. Pour the liquid from the pan into the mixing bowl with the cooked meat and set aside. Wipe the frying pan down, and then place back on medium heat.
- Drizzle another 2 Tablespoons of oil into the pan, and when it's hot, add the minced onion. Season with a big pinch of salt. Cook and stir a couple times until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms next, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.
- Next, add another big pinch of salt and the minced garlic, and stir for another minute, until just fragrant.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, along with the tomato paste. Add in the chopped carrot, thyme, sage, and the browned meat & along the juices in the bowl. Give everything a good stir.
- Finish making the mashed vegetables by straining the water from the pot and then mashing them with potato masher. Add in a teaspoon of salt, and greek yogurt if using. Continue mashing until no lumps remain.
- Assemble the pie by lumping out the mashed root vegetables over the meat mixture in the frying pan and then smoothing it out a bit so the meat is covered. Top with freshly cracked black pepper. Pop into the oven and cook for an hour, until the top is browned and the meat is tender. Serve with fresh parsley for garnish.