Quarto Cooks | 7 April 2020Hannah’s Cottage Pie Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Makes 6 servings Hannah had lived with the family since Meg was born, and was considered by them all more as a friend than a servant. Hannah is a beloved member of the March household. Where did she come from? Due to her brogue- filled speech and the fact that so many Irish people immigrated to the United States in the 1840s, when Meg would have been born, she was most likely Irish. It’s a good bet that she would have known how to put together a good cottage pie, a well-known British and Irish dish of seasoned minced beef topped with mashed potatoes. Cottage pie is a cousin to shepherd’s pie, which is traditionally made with lamb rather than beef. 1 recipe Hannah’s Pounded Potatoes (Below)1/2 cup (57 g) shredded cheddar cheese1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil1 1/2 pounds (680 g) ground beef (at least 90% lean)1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup [160 g])2 garlic cloves, minced1 teaspoon (6 g) salt½ teaspoon ground black pepper1 tablespoon (1.3 g) dried parsley flakes2 tablespoons (15 g) all-purpose flour1 tablespoon (16 g) tomato paste1 cups (355 ml) reduced-sodium beef broth2 teaspoons (10 g) Worcestershire sauce1 1/2 cups (225 g) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed 1. Prepare the potatoes as directed through step 2, omitting the extra 2 tablespoons of butter. After the potatoes have been mashed, stir in the cheese. Cover and set aside. 2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until the onion is tender and the meat is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley flakes; cook and stir for 30 seconds more. Add the flour; cook and stir for about 30 seconds. 3. Add the tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and mixed vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened, about 2 minutes. 4. Pour the mixture into a 3-quart baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, using a spatula to spread the potatoes evenly over the meat. 5. Bake until heated through and bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Hannah’s Pounded Potatoes Makes 4 servings Jo wrathfully proposed that Mr. Davis be arrested without delay, and Hannah shook her fist at the “villain” and pounded potatoes for dinner as if she had him under her pestle. Clearly, Hannah puts her heart and soul into her cooking. In the above scene, she vigorously pounds potatoes after learning that Amy’s teacher, Mr. Davis, has harshly punished Amy for bringing pickled limes to school. Later in the book, when Marmee returns home after a long absence, Hannah dishes up a splendid breakfast for her, “finding it impossible to vent her excitement in any other way.” When Beth grows gravely ill, “Old Hannah never wearied of concocting dainty dishes to tempt a capricious appetite, dropping tears as she worked.” Here’s a luscious recipe for “pounded potatoes” (aka mashed potatoes) that would make Hannah proud. Because she is likely of Irish descent, this version includes scallions, a popular Irish addition to the dish. You’ll find it makes a terrific all-purpose side for just about any kind of braised or roasted meats or poultry. 4 medium russet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds [680 to 907 g] total) peeled and quartered1 teaspoon salt¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, divided4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), thinly slicedSalt and black pepper to taste 1. Put potatoes in a large saucepan and add salt and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the potatoes are so soft that they fall apart when you try to spear one with a knife, about 20 minutes. 2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set them aside. In the same saucepan, heat the cream, 4 tablespoons (55 g) of the butter, and the scallions over medium heat until the butter is melted and the cream is hot. Remove the pan from the heat. Return the potatoes to the pan. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 3. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and top with dabs of the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter. Serve immediately. Little Women Cookbook $20.99$14.99 Buy in UK / Europe Buy in US / Canada Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.