A royal homecoming.

Well, it sure was a good weekend with that little girl of mine.  Hair cuts... nail painting... an all-day-marathon shopping trip... a beautiful film... chips n' salsa... an entire season of Tori & Dean (yes.  judge as you may... just started watching this year- season 6- & admittedly, kinda love it.  so of course i had to rent the first couple of seasons)... but best of all, lots of girl talk & giggles {& no bedtimes!}.  In short:  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
After 3 days of driving, snowshoeing, & driving some more, the boys made it home safe & sound {from a quick Yosemite trip}- just in time to unpack, settle in, & enjoy the season finale of Downton Abbey [tears], and a beloved British comfort dish (cause themes are important when it comes to t.v.)...

english *cottage pie with root vegetables
from sizzling skillets and other one-pot wonders, by emeril lagasse

{same as last week- a delicious meal made in one pot- from a genius cookbook- compartmentalized according to our essential go-to one-pot vessels (skillets & saute pans, casseroles & baking dishes, dutch ovens, big pots, woks, even slow cookers)... love a chef that acknowledges- rather than snubs- the slow-cooker.}

8-10 servings

5 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan (I used less, & added a little olive oil to the potatoes)
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for cooking the potatoes
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1/4 cup (about 12 cloves) minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced turnip
1 1/2 cups diced parsnip
1 cup diced carrot
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs all-purpose flour
2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tbs plus 1 tsp dry mustard
1 3/4 cups beef stock or canned low-sodium beef broth
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
3 lbs idaho potatoes, peeled & quartered
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs half & half (I use 1% milk)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)

Grease a 3-qt baking dish with a small amount of butter and set aside.

Heat a tbs of the butter and 1 tbs of the remaining butter and the remaining tbs of the oil in a deep 5-qt saute pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the ground beef, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp of the black pepper.  Cook the meat until browned, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, 1- to 12 minutes.  Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tbs of the remaining butter and the remaining tbs of oil.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the turnip, parsnip, carrot, and 1/4 tsp of the remaining salt and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 4 minutes.  Return the beef to the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook, stirring for another minute.  Add the flour and leaf, mustard, stock, and worcestershire and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Reduce the heat so that the sauce barely simmers, cover, and continue to cook, stirring once midway, for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, and season with 1/2 tsp of the remaining salt and the remaining 1/2 tsp black pepper.  Cover and set aside.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400.
Place the potatoes in the saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch.  Bring the water to a gentle boil, season with salt, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.  Immediately drain the potatoes.  Pass the potatoes through a ricer into the same pot (or mash until smooth using a potato masher) and return the pot to the stove over low heat.  Add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 3 tbs of butter, the half-and-half, white pepper, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Stir to mix well and cook until heated through.
Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and, using the back of the spoon, smooth the top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the mashed potatoes.  Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until browned and bubbly on top, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve.
*  A shepherd's pie is made with ground lamb, hence the name, "cottage pie".

Definitely a lot of chopping, browning, stirring... but oh so worth it.


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with your daughter - so lovely!

  2. I couldn't agree more that themes are important when it comes to TV. That made me laugh out loud! And on a side note? Downton Abbey. Most satisfying Christmas episode ever.

  3. sounds like you two had a wonderful weekend together!

  4. Awwww sounds like a perfect weekend!! Love your dish of choice, I miss England everyday :/ and omg downton abbey season finale!! 'Tears' is right!

  5. my kind of tv comfort food. yum! so glad weekend was a success. i am looking forward to girl time like that with my daughter. one on one time is the best and totally necessary once in awhile.

  6. Love all the recipes you post Torrie! And I am addicted to Tori and Dean too...I admit it! Now I just need to start downtown abbey.

  7. Oh my gosh, that is one of my favourite dishes of all time. In England they call it "nursery food" - in a good way, so comforting and nourishing. One of the cocktail bars I went to there Zetter does all that stuff and scotch eggs and fish pie. Am so sad that's the end of Downton Abbey...what is my next obsession?

  8. Being married to a Brit means we get to enjoy this comfort food on a regular basis. Although I must admit, we call it Shepherd's Pie and use beef. I should post my husband's recipe one of these days. It's really the only thing he makes but it's the best! :)

  9. TOTALLY obsessed with Tori and Dean. Mostly because I am a freak of an animal lover and I love it that she has chickens and goats and EVERYTHING. My kids love it too. I have not a lick of judge for you.


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