The term "cottage pie" actually came nearly 100 years before the "shepherd's pie". Shepherd's pie is made specifically with lamb, while cottage pie usually contains beef.
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a heavy-bottom pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Break up the beef and add to the pot, along with another pinch of salt, and cook until brown and cooked through. Add tomato paste, and with a wooden spoon, massage it into the vegetables and meat until evenly distributed, then let cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and mix well. Add flour and toss evenly to coat. Add diluted demi-glace, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Let cook until the filling begins to thicken and condense, about 10 minutes — don’t let it get dry. Add peas and parsley and turn off the heat.
- Fill a medium pot with water and stir in kosher salt. Add potatoes. Bring to a boil. Let cook for 5–10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Drain off the water and push the potatoes through a ricer into a clean bowl. Add butter, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Let the butter melt, then stir to blend.
- Move the meat and vegetable filling into a 9-by-9-inch casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling. If you’re feeling indulgent, brush the potatoes with melted butter. Place in the oven for 25–30 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes and serve.
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