Recently, I’ve gotten chummy with YouTube Beauty guru, Jade Gabriell. An expert in hair accessories and wigs, I was in awe when she told me about her massive beauty collection. (It’s huge, okay. Huge.) Jade was the first person that encouraged me to start a food blog. When I asked Jade to be featured on a post to thank her, she graciously obliged.
Is she not remarkably stunning? Just gorgeous. Jade, why on earth are you not modeling? You’ve gotta!
Jade is originally from England, so I asked about what some of her favorite British dishes were. Out of a lovely list of British classics like the Bakewell tart, toad-in-a-hole, scones and more, one idea was Cottage Pie. I love this stuff but have never made it before. Off I went to experiment in the Sprightly Kitchen.
You can find Jade on her Instagram @jadegabriell and subscribe to her Youtube Channel! Go watch her badass videos while you make my Cottage Pie. My current favorite videos are where she tries a black face mask and a tea detox. SLAY, SLAY, SLAY ALL DAY. That’s how you’ll feel when you watch her videos. Slay.
The Sprightly Kitchen’s Cottage Pie (Makes 4-6 Portions)
For the top layer:
- About 3 cups (460 grams-ish)…I think, of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of beef stock
- ¼ cup (55 grams) of mascarpone cheese
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) of grated cheddar cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (Hmmm, maybe 5 grams?) of flat-leaf parsley
For the bottom layer:
- 1 pound (about 500g) of 80/20 fat ground beef
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup (50 grams) of carrot, grated
- 1/3 cup (50 grams) of yellow onion, minced
- 1/3 cup (50 grams) of celery, diced
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) of white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (60 grams) of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 cup (240 ml) of beef stock
- Pepper to taste
- Salt is optional
In case you want to try this (I dare you!), here’s what to do:
Preheated the oven to 375F/190C.
Put cauliflower and beef stock in a saucepan over high heat; season with a pinch of salt. Cover the saucepan with a lid. When the cauliflower begins to boil, turn off the heat. Let the cauliflower sit in the saucepan for three minutes. The residual heat will cook the cauliflower until tender. Drain off the excess liquid. Into a high-speed blender, mix in the cooked cauliflower, mascarpone cheese, and butter. Blend until creamy and smooth. Set aside.
For the meat layer, brown the beef on medium-high heat and cook through. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat and drain the rest. Set the beef aside. In the same pan on medium-high heat, cook the garlic in the reserved fat until fragrant. Add onions, carrots, and celery; then cook until they become translucent. Add the beef back into the pan.
Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf until well mixed. Add stock and mushrooms, then stir. Put the lid back on and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat. For the first 5 minutes, simmer with the lid on. For the last 10 minutes, simmer with the lid off until some of the liquid has reduced. Spoon off excess fat.
To assemble the Cottage Pie, put the meat filling in the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish. Evenly pour over the cauliflower mash and spread with a spatula. Top with shredded cheese and ground pepper. Bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, top with freshly grated nutmeg and parsley.
This recipe will need to be revisited. It could use a lot of work and tweaking. It came out delicious though.
Traditionally, Cottage Pie is topped with a potato mash. But, my recipe calls for a cauliflower one. Reason being is that I’ve been following a Low-carb, high-fat /Ketogenic diet since October 2016. (I’ve lost 35 pounds so far!) I’ve since become accustomed to replacing starchy foods with those that are less “carby.”
This recipe calls for carrots. Some Ketogenic purists may not want to include the carrots. I’m sure it will still taste delicious without it. Personally, I watch my macros. I do, and will in the future, use some keto contraband foods when making LCHF recipes. I promise they will be in moderation or optional.
I originally wanted to make a green mash that involved cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and garlic. I tested it the day before; it came out perfect. But, I felt it had far too many ingredients. Who needs complicated, you know? Consequently, I decided to simplify and make it with cauliflower only. I’ll feature the green mash with another dish at a later date. Maybe a steak?
Cutting the cauliflower into small pieces, as shown above, will help the florets cook faster. I’d say these were about 1-inch cubed pieces or so. I hate it when cauliflower is boiled to death, hence my method for letting the residual heat take care of the cooking without going overkill.
The cauliflower mash was tricky to make. I didn’t have enough cauliflower at first, so I had to make more of it to layer on top like you see here. When you try to make this mash, you may have to adjust the amount of cauliflower (like, add more of it) because it shrinks. Cauliflower is full of water and it gets super watery when steaming. Not draining the cauliflower will make for a sloppy, wet mash. Ew. So, I concluded that draining the liquid is critical. That mascarpone cheese though… Definitely a good idea.
The beef… Should I have used 80/20 ground beef? Well, for people who are on Keto, it might be a good choice. For those that are not, I’d imagine it would be more appetizing to use beef that’s leaner.
I wish I would have been smarter and drained more of the fat off the meat filling before I baked the pie. If you look at the above picture, you can see that the fat started to seep into the cauliflower mash. Oops. Lesson learned! I still liked the golden color and the hue that came from the tomato paste. It looks even better once the nutmeg, pepper, and parsley went on. But frankly, the nutmeg was not my favorite in terms of taste.
Here, I made a little salad with home grown alfalfa sprouts, some endive, toasted pecans, and sliced strawberries. It is topped with parsley and mustard vinaigrette.
I must admit, I did not like how my photos turned out this week. I feel like Cottage Pie is something that is not meant to be fancy. Am I Right?
Next week will be a fun one. It will feature a traditional something-something from the Czech Republic. Come hang out with me again!
Please send in a request for me to make something, from wherever you are in the world. I’ll try and recreate it! The Contact section of The Sprightly Kitchen has a form where you can make the request.
Lots and lots and lots of love,