Recently, I started a new job. It’s as Creative Director for a local food market and I love it. Like, really love it. So much that just italicizing the text can’t possibly do this love justice. Seriously guys, this marketplace is incredible and is doing so much when it comes to new and innovative ideas in the food space – it’s really something special to be a part of. This place is everything from a bakery to a gourmet kitchen, a specialty grocer, delicatessen, meat market, fish and chipper, rotisserie, pizzeria, drinkery…. and it just keeps evolving.
Now, this isn’t an affiliate post so I won’t name names, but anyone local to Townsville reading this, definitely knows the place I’m talking about. They would also know that this market produces the best pies on the face of the planet (again, no amount of italics can do this statement justice). Seriously, the pastry is off-the-charts-delicious and the fillings are silky, salty and rich… with a gravy that really should be its own food group. They offer 14 different varieties of pies, each flavour as good as the next… but, (as far as I’m concerned) there is one variety missing…
… smoked brisket.
For ages I have thought that smoked brisket would be amazing in a pie and since I can’t get it made for me anywhere (least of all at work), I figured I would try my hand at creating one myself. And boy, am I glad I did.
It was a fabulously cold Sunday and we were still rolling around from the previous evening’s Texas barbeque feast – Mark had just built a new smoker and the fruits of his labour were incredible, with it producing the best brisket we have ever cooked. The best part was, the brisket was so large, that despite its perfection, we still had leftovers (even after handsomely feeding 12 guests). This isn’t something that is ever a problem for us though, as it leads me to creatively figure out what to do with the leftovers, and we can turn the perfection that is low n slow brisket into a gift that keeps on giving.
So, lets talk about my smoked brisket pie. Not just any smoked brisket pie, but a smoked brisket cottage pie (let’s not confuse this with a shepherd’s pie, which is made with lamb).
To me, a basic cottage pie is the exemplar simple and homely comfort food. It is one of the easiest dishes in the world to put together, it transcends generations and as a traditionally old-school English dish, there would have to be thousands of variations of it. And when brisket is involved, you know it’s going to be good (just sayin’).
I like my cottage pie to be loaded with flavour (no wussy gravy for me!) and substituting the traditional ground beef with smoky, tender, shredded brisket, does just that. The addition of a delicious smoky barbeque sauce to the mix adds another layer of flavour, and my favourite tip when it comes to any meat pie filling: instead of using flour as a thickener, try gravy mix. It will thicken your gravy in he exact same way, but result in a much richer product.
After the meat filling is done, all you have to do is layer it with some sharp cheddar, top with fluffy mashed potatoes peppered with finely diced jalapenos and bake away for 45 minutes of an aroma so good, you will have a hard time waiting for it to come out of the oven so you can annihilate it.
This recipe will change the way you look at cottage pie forever. Purists might say nothing beats the original version but seriously, just look at it! That beautiful, smoky gravy bubbles its heart out underneath that golden, creamy, cheesy and zingy potato crown and it really is the very definition of comfort food.
Smoked Brisket Cottage Pie with Jalapeno and Cheddar
Use leftover smoked beef brisket to create this delicious take on an old classic. This recipe will change the way you look at cottage pie forever!
- For the filling:
- 1kg smoked beef brisket, shredded
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 tablespoons beef gravy mix
- 1 cup beef stock
- ½ cup smoky barbeque sauce
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- For the mashed potatoes:
- 1kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and bring to a light simmer. Add in the onions and carrots and sautee for at least 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the shredded brisket and combine.
Sprinkle the mixture with the gravy mix and stir well, followed by the stock and barbeque sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer and stir occasionally until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper (see note).
Pour the mixture into an oven-safe pie or casserole dish and allow to cool while preparing the potatoes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add potato pieces and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add in the butter and allow to melt through while blending the potatoes well with a potato masher. Fold in the sour cream and cream, followed by the jalapenos. Season to taste.
Place a layer of shredded cheddar over the meat filling and spoon the mashed potato on top. Spread potato into an even layer and rough the top up with a fork before placing in the oven (see note).
Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges of the mashed potatoes have turned a golden brown.
Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve alongside crusty bread and your favourite green vegetables, enjoy!
1. Season your filling to your own liking, however if the leftover brisket you are using has been sufficiently seasoned, you shouldn't need to add anything extra at all. Make sure you taste first! 2. Roughing up the edges of the mash topping creates texture, allowing for more areas to get crispy and golden. Another option is to pipe the mash on top, but keep in mind you may need to make extra for this method, and allow more time.