Monday, August 20, 2012

Individual Cottage Pies

One of the classic pub foods I've encountered over the years is the hearty, meaty cottage pie. You probably know these as "shepherd's pies", but the common recipe for the casserole utilizes beef these days - not the mutton that gave the original recipe it's name. Like any casserole of any kind, though, recipes are really guidelines, completely open to interpretation and a canvas for "throw it all in" use ups of ingredients. But casseroles, though simple to make, can take forever to prepare and serve a ton of people, making them a bit tricky for busy families and the singletons out there.

Given that my grandma is still fairly recently on her own, my household is all over the place with work, school and life schedules never seeming to entwine completely, and my stepbrother is still in the process of learning to cook for his (mostly vegetarian) fiance, I took that classic "meat and three", scaled it back for two and tweaked it just slightly to make it vegetarian and lower fat. The richly flavoured, herb, garlic and cheese potato topping and using a ton of veggies with the simply spiced vegetarian "meat" crumbles (I used my grandma's recipe for seasoning) kept the mini-pies completely stick to your ribs, and vegetarian or not you get wrapped in a blanket of comfort with the first bite. For those not feeding an army every night making mini-versions is even better - the "pot pie" plates make portion control, freezing and reheating easy!

Keeping in tune with the traditional recipe's economical lean, these cottage pies are relatively inexpensive to put together, especially when you consider the cost of eating out or ordering in. Plus being a whole meal in a pot (pie), my individual versions aren't too hard on the calorie budget either - with just over 400 calories for the whole mini-pan (no portion pinching!), these also pack in about 12 grams of fibre and over 370% of your minimum intake for vitamin A! My grandma could only eat half at a time, but even heartier appetites will be full after dinner.

Individual Cottage Pies
Serves 2
1 large Yukon Gold potato (or 2 medium), peeled and cubed
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp non fat Greek style yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced chives
2 green onions, minced
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
pinch black pepper
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 large onion, diced
16 baby carrots, diced (or 2 large carrots)
200 g Yves' Veggie Cuisine Ground Round
1 tsp "Better than Bouillon" Vegetarian Beef Base (or 1 tbsp other vegetarian beef bouillon) mixed with
1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup frozen peas
  1. Boil potato in a large pot of water with 1 tbsp sea salt.
  2. Pass through a food mill or ricer (or mash completely smooth).
  3. Stir in yogurt, garlic, green onions, Parmesan, black pepper and dried parsley. Set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan heat the oil and cook onion and carrots until tender, about 12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine Yves' Ground Round, base + water, thyme, allspice, Worcestershire, ketchup, and peas.
  6. When vegetables are done, add to the mince mixture and stir in thoroughly.
  7. Divide between two pot pie plates.
  8. Dollop half the mashed potato mixture on each pie and spread to cover the filling.
  9. Bake immediately or wrap well in foil and freeze.

To bake immediately or when thawed: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and bake (uncovered) 35 minutes.

To heat from frozen:
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Bake, covered 1 hour, then uncover, raise oven to 400F and bake 10-15 minutes

Amount Per Serving (1 pot pie)

Calories: 417.7
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 2.1 mg
Sodium: 1,140.6 mg
Total Carbs: 59.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 12.2 g
Protein: 26.4 g

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