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Cottage Pie - Pix Intensive

jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
edited November 2012 in EggHead Forum
What is Cottage Pie? Well it is simply the "technical" name for a Shepherd's Pie made with beef, not lamb. This recipe came from the Dec. 2012 issue of Cooks Illustrated magazine and looked very interesting and like many CI mag. recipes it has several new takes on a classic recipe. I wanted to do some of it on the Egg. At first I was going to just finish it on the Egg indirectly when I added the potatoes, because this would allow me to add some smoke from Applewood chips. But I decided to do the filling in my Dutch oven too. I figured it would be a good lesson controlling temps with just the lower draft door. 

The first change CI did was use ground beef instead of chunks of beef (or lamb). The beef was 93 percent lean beef so the pie wouldn't be greasy. To make up for the lack of flavor in 93 percent beef they added some sauteed veggies and used their flavor to flavor the pie. They used milk as opposed to heavy cream to keep the potatoes lighter. They also used sliced scallions to keep the potatoes from being as sticky. I'm not so sure about their last goal: to make the recipe take a lot less time. They said it took a little over an hour. For me it took just under four hours, now granted I could probably knock off 30 or 45 minutes for pictures, but  their time was very optimistic. I started an hour earlier than I thought I had to and finished an hour and a half later. 

Let me just say it was worth the extra time and wait. I lucked out and managed to get the amount of wood chips just right-everyone noticed the smoke, liked it  and thought it was subtle enough. This was extremely tasty and I was thinking it was perhaps the best Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie I'd ever had. About thirty seconds later my dad said it was the best one he'd ever had. My mom and wife quickly agreed. Anyway onto the pix.
 

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Before I cleaned out the Egg and topped it off with more lump, I tried out my new Spider which arrived earlier this day. Can't wait for my wok to arrive.



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The first step was to mix up the ground beef together with black pepper, salt, water & baking powder.



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The 2 1/2 pounds of Russet potatoes were boiled and drained. They went back into the pan and were heated another minute to dry the excess moisture. 



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I used a food mill to help mash the potatoes and get them nice & silky smooth.



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Butter, milk & an egg yolk were added next.



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Salt, black pepper & scallions were added next.



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The finished mashed potatoes. They were covered and set aside for now.



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While the potatoes were being made I got the ingredients for the filling ready. The filling used diced mushrooms, carrots & onions, port, garlic, bay leaf, beef broth, baking soda, all-purpose flour, thyme sprigs & the ground beef mixture plus tomato paste, water, salt, pepper & Worcestershire sauce.



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Everything is out at the Egg and the Dutch oven has been been on Egg for 10 minutes. The Egg has been set up for direct grilling with the s/s grill grate & had been stabilized at 350 degrees. 



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The first step was to add the onions and mushrooms and sautee them for 6 minutes. Since the lid was going to be open for quite a bit of this next phase I dialed the lower draft door down to 50 percent of what I was using to prevent the coals from running away on me.



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Some tomato paste and minced garlic were added next.



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The pan has been deglazed with some port to get all of the brown bits mixed in with the sauteed veggies.



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Flour was added in and the mixture was cooked for an additional minute.



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The carrots, beef broth, bay leaves & time were added & the mixture was brought to a simmer.



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The ground beef mixture was added in in 2 inch chunks. The lid was put on the Dutch oven and the mixture was simmered for 12 minutes.



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This is what the filling looks like after being simmered for 12 minutes. Midway through the ground beef was broken up with a fork. It is now time to bring the Dutch oven inside and add the potato topping. I also added the plate setter legs up and brought the Egg up to 550 degrees legs up. 



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The potatoes have been added & the top surface was scraped with a fork to give it more surface area.



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The Dutch oven is back on the Egg which is at 550. The recipe called for 8-15 minutes under a broiler and it took far longer on the Egg. I am not exactly sure why-I can't imagine the broiler in an oven gets much hotter than 550.



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After 30 minutes the top was browned and the potatoes had pulled away from the sides of the Dutch oven. I did this indirect part with the DF Metal Cap off and I was able to shine a flashlight inside to see what was going on. Other than when it was time to remove the Dutch oven at the end, I never had to open the lid.



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The Cottage Pie was cooled for 10 minutes before serving. It is finally time to eat. I started at 2:00 PM it is now 6:00 PM.


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This was an excellent meal that was fortunately worth the wait. Plus it was a great learning experience on controlling the temperatures on the Egg via just the lower draft door. It is a good day when you can turn out some great food while learning more about using the Egg.

Jim

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