I’ve been MIA for quite a while lately. I am quickly approaching my solo-teaching period. Though it is super nerve wracking and I am insanely stressed, I’m excited. I am teaching a weather unit for 3 weeks. Luckily, Thanksgiving will be a week-long break in the middle of the unit. My portfolio is coming together nicely, but it is a long way from done. I figure by the time December hits, I should have a little more free time. Once mid-Jan comes, I can take a deep breath and hopefully prep for licensure!
Cooking is my art, my only art. I’ve needed a stress reliever lately, so I just had to cook. I typically use recipes as an idea-sparker, so I flipped through some cookbooks and stumbled upon a shepherds pie with cheddar mash recipe. Somehow the recipe morphed into a cottage pie with cheddar mash and caramelized leeks recipe. Boy was it good! Too bad the weather was warm, as this would be a perfect cold-night meal.
Cottage Pie with Caramelized Leeks and Cheddar Mash
For the Leeks
2 leeks, whites and light greens
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
For the Mash
6 medium white potatoes
3 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
For the Filling
1-1.5 lbs ground beef
1.5 tsp thyme
1.5 tbsp flour
1.5 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1. Slice the leeks thin and rinse well to remove any dirt or sand. Over medium heat, add butter and olive oil and saute for about 30 minutes. When the leeks start to brown, add a dash of salt. Stir frequently. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. In the meantime, wash potatoes and cut into equal sized chunks. Peel and smash garlic cloves. Boil the potatoes and garlic until soft. Drain, add back to the pan and mash with butter and cream/milk. Mash until smooth, but still a little chunky. HOLD on the cheese.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. In the pan used for the leeks, add a splash of olive oil. Add carrots (diced into small pieces). Saute for about 7 minutes over medium heat until soft. Add the ground beef and saute until no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. While stirring, add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Then add tomato paste and stir into beef until mixed. Add the chicken or beef stock and stir. It should thicken quite quickly- about 2-4 minutes.
4. In a large casserole, add the meat mixture. Sprinkle about half of the leeks on top of the meat. Top with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the remaining leeks on top of the potatoes and then the cheddar cheese. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned.