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Cottage Pie

The first time I remember having Shepherd’s pie (which a know-it-all-coworker/good friend just pointed out is actually Cottage Pie because it is beef, not lamb) was with the Neary Family.  When we lived in Florida we were lucky enough to have a family live down the street that perfectly complimented ours.  Mr. and Mrs. Neary were friends with my parents, the oldest daughter Caroline was my age, and their twin boys, Jack and Noah, were Reid’s age.  They were fun, glamorous (having lived in England), and had a cat door that Ryan could crawl through when he wanted breakfast before anybody at our house was awake.  They were the best friends we had in that neighborhood in South Florida, it was hard to leave them when we moved back to North Carolina.

I loved this pie from the first bite.  First of all, mashed potatoes.  Duh.  Then, peas, carrots, onions, and ground beef.  I can’t find a downside.  There is no downside.  This pie is only upsides.  Delicious, creamy, herby upsides.

Cottage Pie

Mashed Potatoes:

3 russet potatoes

1 stick butter

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt & pepper

Middle layer:

2 cups peas

2 large carrots

2 shallots

2 cloves garlic

Salt & pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Bottom Layer:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp herbs de provance

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper

Peel potatoes as you heat a pot of water on the stove.  Chunk the potatoes and boil, salting the water, until tender.  Combine in a mixer with butter, mayo, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Mix until creamy.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Over medium heat, saute garlic in oil.  Add ground beef and spices, cooking for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.  Set aside.

Heat more olive oil and saute the remaining two cloves of garlic.  Add in peas, chopped  and peeled carrots, peeled and sliced shallots, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.

In your pie dish layer ground beef on the bottom, peas and carrots in the middle, and top with mashed potatoes.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

 

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Coconut Cream Pie

National Pie Month has been, in many ways, an amazing challenge.  It’s challenged me to make and edit essentially the same photograph over and over.  It’s challenged me to experiment with new ingredients, new techniques, new flavors.  I’ve loved every delicious minute of it.  Not to mention that I am now able to make amazing custards almost effortlessly.

For my final sweet pie of the month I made a coconut cream pie, the request of a reader.  I was dubious because I’m not a huge coconut fan, nor am I a huge custard fan.  I knew I’d want something different, something to add a twist to the overall flavor of the pie.  So I decided to add a chocolate creme/graham cracker crust.  It was a great decision.  It added a layer of flavor to the pie that was so different from, yet perfectly complimented, the custard and the meringue.  It was the perfect way to end this month o’ pie (sweetly).

Coconut Cream Pie

Filling:

3 egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup shredded or shaved coconut

1 tbsp butter

Crust:

10-12 chocolate creme cookies

4 graham crackers

1 stick butter

Meringue:

5 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

Coconut shavings for top

Filling:

Heat milk in a medium saucepan.  Bring close to a boil.  In another bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch.  In a third bowl, whisk egg yolks.  When milk is hot, spoon 1 ladle-full into the eggs.  Whisk together.  Return egg/milk mixture to the milk and stir.  Slowly stir in the sugar and cornstarch.  Stir until it thickens.  Cut the heat and add butter and vanilla extract.

Crust:

Combine oreos, graham crackers, and sugar in a food processor.  Blend until crumbs.  Melt butter.  Toss butter and crumbs together, press into pie dish.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Scoop custard into pie dish.

Meringue:

Whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff.  Fold over custard, making sure to seal the edges of the meringue to the pie dish.  Top with coconut.  Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Chili & Cornbread Pie

A few weeks ago when I announced this month o’ pie on twitter and the like I got a lot of feedback, requests, and suggestions.  My friend Mattie told me that she had just made a tamale pie– a chili pie with a cornbread crust.  Immediately I was hooked.  I’d been thinking of making a pie this month with a biscuit crust, but knew cornbread would be exactly what we wanted in the throws of late February (especially considering the unexpected snow).

This pie was delicious, heartwarming, and completely welcome in this latest cold snap.  The recipe I’m providing is a little different from the one we tested.  Originally I had thought a bottom crust was in order, but instead of acting as the pie-like anchor I was hoping it would it really sucked up a lot of the moisture from the chili.  So no bottom crust.  And it’s obviously the dead of winter so I used frozen/preserved ingredients but I’ll be keeping this recipe in mind for a cold, rainy day in the fall.  With fresh jalapeños and tomatoes? Amazing!

Chili & Cornbread Pie

(enough to make 1 deep dish pie)

Chili:

1 lb ground beef

1 onion

1 large can whole peeled tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1/4 cup pickled jalapeños

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp chipotle

1 tbsp salt

4 cloves garlic

Cornbread crust:

1/4 cup pickled jalapeños

1/4 cup white cheddar cheese, sharp

1/4 cup orange cheddar cheese, sharp

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/3 cup canola oil

Begin by browning the beef.  Combine in a crock pot with all the remaining ingredients (including the juices from the beans/tomatoes).  Cook for 4 hours on low, tasting occasionally and adjusting the spices to your preference.

To make the crust, chop jalapeño and shred cheese.  Mix dry ingredients.  Slowly mix in milk and oil.

Scoop your filling into a large pie dish, stopping about 1 inch from the top.  Spread cornbread topping over the chili evenly.  Bake on 375 for 25 minutes.

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