The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 11, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Fighting the cold with winter comfort food

Palestine Herald-Press

— Welcome to a very cold 2014. What a winter we’re having, and doesn’t it make you crave comfort food? You know, the good and hearty kind that reminds us of childhood winters with mum and dad.

My mum was an avid cook, and my dad liked to help her in the kitchen, as much as he could. Today’s recipe was one of his favorites – cottage pie with a creamy potato topping.

I can hear you now saying to yourself, what is a cottage pie?

It’s a pie made with ground beef or leftover shredded pot roast. It’s similar to a shepherd’s pie, but that one is made with lamb instead of beef. Both have a potato topping that takes the place of the crust.

In this version, I browned ground beef with onions and then thickened the filling with flour and beef stock. I then made a big batch of mashed potatoes, spread them over the top of the beef mixture and bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp and browned

Serve with mixed vegetables or a big salad and you are sure to stay happy and warm.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese


Heat pan with oil and brown beef. Add chopped onions and cook for two minutes. Add flour and cook for two minutes. Add beef stock and bring to a boil.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the tomato paste. Cook until sauce is thickened. Spread into a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain and mash until smooth. Add the butter, milk, salt and pepper and continue to mash. Spread the potatoes over the meat, top with grated cheese and place in the oven. Cook until browned and heated through, about 25 minutes.


Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to or call 903-729-9500.