(Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb. lean ground beef
Salt & pepper
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 large carrot, diced
1 1/2 c Guinness (1 bottle)
5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-1/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 c frozen corn niblets
3/4 c frozen peas
Sprinkle of sugar
2 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped (* See note)
1/4 c butter
2 tbsp finely grated cheddar, plus extra for grating
1 large egg yolk
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat and brown the ground beef. Season with salt & pepper. When cooked, remove to a bowl & set aside. Drain if it's especially fatty.
Return skillet to heat, add remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Cook onions, garlic & thyme until onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste and cooked ground beef. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add Guinness & worcestershire sauce, bring to a simmer and let cook until reduced by half. Pour in stock and stir in corn and peas, return to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until thick and glossy, about 20 minutes. If mixture is still a little liquidy, let simmer another 5-10 minutes. Taste & adjust seasoning, adding a sprinkle of sugar if the tomato acidity is too overpowering.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350, and add potatoes to a pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, then return to the hot pan for 15 seconds or so to dry them out, then remove from heat. Pass potatoes through a potato ricer, or mash with a hand masher. Mix in butter, cheese & egg yolk. Taste & adjust seasoning.
Spoon the beef mixture into the bottom of a large pie dish, 9x13 pan or casserole dish. Spoon blobs of mashed potato over top, even out and rough up with a fork. Grate on some more cheddar, and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
* Note: Ramsay's original recipe calls for a floury, starchy potato, peeled. We made this with a waxy yukon gold, unpeeled, and it was a delicious, rustic alternative. Any potatoes you want, peeled or unpeeled, will surely work well in this.