How to: Cottage Pie

Me: It is totally natural to think about yourself 99% of the time when your 10 years old. The trick is not to get sunk in the ocean of thinking only about yourself. As an adult, even as a 16 year old you lose that irresistible cuteness that nature gave you and you have to bulk up your props for keeping your friends and acquaintances in the room. Thinking of yourself is critical, but you have that down; now you need to practice thinking of others.

The kid: You are guilt tripping me.

Me: No, if you feel guilty I would say that’s hopeful. I’m just giving you the facts; that’s my job.

The kid: Fine! I will look for another movie.

For dinner I made cottage pie. Thinking of others is a life long work out. I would order tripe before I ordered a cottage pie but I’m a pain in the neck, I’m no where near as cute as I used to be and I tend to go on.

To start: top and tail an onion and keep the top and tail. Saute it in olive oil and bit of butter until golden and add 1 pound of ground meat with salt, pepper and a bay leaf. In a separate saute pan add olive oil, bit of butter, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, parsley sprig, whole clove of garlic uncut, finely diced plum tomato, carrot, celery stalk and the onion. Let each pan go for about 20 minutes over a medium heat, stirring with attention. Drain the meat. Give the vegetables a tablespoon more of butter and 2 of flour; stir for a few minutes. Add the meat. Give it a shake of worchestire sauce and a ladle of chicken or beef stock. Add a half cup of really good red wine (if you have it, or leave it out.) When this nearly absorbed, add a bit more stock. It should be saucy but not overly liquidy. Make your best mashed potatoes and grate in some cheddar. Spoon on top of the meat and broil until the potatoes are on their way to golden. If you make it ahead, then set the oven to 400 degrees and warm through. Serve with buttery broccoli on the side and a big slab of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Tell everybody how much you love them; don’t just think it.

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