beer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage piebeer-braised & shredded beef cottage pie

A chunkier & heartier version of a perfect winter meal with a bottom layer of beer-braised beef, later shredded, cooked with vegetables, later chopped, followed by a layer of whole corn kernels and creamed corn layer too and topped with a layer of partly-crushed boiled root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips and white carrots and then a creamier mashed mixture of those same root vegetables and a finishing touch with melted butter, paprika powders and crushed pink peppercorns, for a golden crust …

This is obviously a modified and reinterpreted Quebec-style version of this dish that is usually made with a layer of cooked ground beef with peas and carrots and onions, then a layer of creamed corn and finally a layer of mashed potatoes and also quite similar to the northern European or British version.

COTTAGE PIE (with beef) or SHEPHERD’S PIE (with lamb) are typically countryside-style dishes. In France it’s called HÂCHIS PARMENTIER and in Québec it’s called PÂTÉ CHINOIS and in South America, it’s called PASTEL DE PAPA.

Many of us kids in Canada who were of different Mediterranean origins first discovered this dish in school cafeterias, then convinced our Mediterranean parents to make it for us and finally made our own versions when we were old enough to cook. I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover this dish when I moved to France, since it’s a very northern European dish.

This version is much chunkier ! Instead of grinding the meats, they are slowly braised with various vegetables, then the meat is shredded and recombined with the chopped vegetables and some of the braising liquid. The bright yellow corn layer is creamed but also whole and the mashed white vegetables layer is a combination of white potatoes, parsnips and white carrots.

I often use beef belly slices which is tastier and fattier than cubes of beef chuck but it usually comes with bones and thicker fats and requires separating after cooking which diminishes its weight by 33% after cooking,  as opposed to beef chuck which is drier and tougher and requires a longer cooking time but it’s often without bones and only decreases in weight by 15%-20% after cooking. You can decide what you prefer.

It’s easy to prepare in advance and refrigerate before baking (which is why I use a dish with a lid) and later baked the next day. 

It’s a hearty dish that hits the spot and warms the soul (especially during this particularly cold 2019 winter) . . . :)

beer-braised & shredded beef cottage pie


8 servings x 375 grams each


bottom layer of braised beef & vegetables (1,25 kg after cooking) : 

  • 1,5 kg beef belly slices with bones & fat (or 1 kg beef chuck)
  • 30 grams (2 tbsp) butter
  • 15 grams (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) worcestershire sauce
  • 25 grams (3 cloves) garlic
  • 50 grams (2 small stalks) celery
  • 100 grams (1 large) orange carrot
  • 200 grams (2 medium) onions, chopped
  • 200 grams (8 medium) mushrooms
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) sea salt
  • 1,0 gram (¼ tsp) ground pepper
  • 0,5 gram (½ tsp) dried thyme
  • 0,5 gram (4-6 whole) allspice peppercorns
  • 0,5 gram (4-6) cloves
  • 0,5 gram (2-3) bay leaves
  • 500 ml (2 cups + 1 ½ tbsp) dark beer

middle layer of corn (625 grams after cooking) :

  • 500 grams (2 cans or 3 cups) corn kernels
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream (30% fat content)
  • 30 grams (2 tbsp) butter
  • 2 grams (½ tsp) salt
  • 0,5 gram (1/8 tsp) ground pepper
  • 0,5 gram (1/8 tsp) grated nutmeg

top layer of root vegetables (1,25 kg after cooking) :

  • 750 grams (5 medium) potatoes, peeled and rough chopped
  • 250 grams (1 large) parsnips, peeled and rough chopped
  • 125 grams (2 small) white carrots
  • 30 grams (2 tbsp) coarse sea salt
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) white vinegar
  • 2,5 liters (10 cups) water
  • 200 grams (1 cup) crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • 5 grams (1 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground pepper
  • 1 grams (¼ tsp) nutmeg (and/or allspice)

final garnish :

  • 30 grams (2 tbsp) melted butter
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) smoked paprika
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) sweet paprika
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) crushed pink peppercorns


braised beef with vegetables layer :

  • preheat oven to 180°C
  • use a casserole with a lid (that you can later place directly in the oven) and melt the butter with the olive oil on the stovetop at medium-high heat and brown the beef on all sides for about 3-5 minutes on each side until lightly colored and remove the meat from the casserole
  • de-glaze the casserole with the apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar (scrape the sticky caramelized bits on the bottom for added flavor), place the meat back inside with all the sliced vegetables, spices, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and finally the beer, bring to a simmer, remove from the stovetop, cover with the lid and place inside the oven for 2 ½ hours, then remove from the oven when the meat is tender, let cool down, separate the meat from the vegetables and shred it with two forks or your fingers (remove any pieces of bone and thicker pieces of tougher fat and discard), strain the vegetables from the liquid, remove the allspice peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, then chop up the vegetables into smaller pieces, recombine the sliced vegetables with the shredded meat and add 1 ½ cups of the braising liquid to the mixture and set aside

corn layer :

  • reserve 1/3 of the corn kernels and crush the remaining 2/3 of corn kernels (or pulse in a food processor until smoother) and simmer the crushed corn kernels for 8-10 minutes at medium-high heat with the butter and spices and heavy cream until tender and set aside

root vegetables layer :

  • slice the peeled potatoes, parsnips and white carrots into smaller pieces, place in the water with the vinegar and salt and bring the water and vegetables to a boil (about 10 minutes) and let boil for an additional 20 minutes until tender, remove the vegetables from the water and drain, reserve 1/3 of the boiled vegetables and coarsely mash with a fork and set aside, combine the remaining 2/3 of the boiled root vegetables with the crème fraîche (or sour cream) and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and mash until smooth and creamy and set aside

assembly :

  • place the shredded meat and chopped vegetable layer on the bottom of a baking dish (I use an enameled round baking dish that measures 24 cm in diameter x 8 cm high, with a lid), sprinkle with a layer of the whole corn kernels, cover with the creamed corn layer, then add the layer of coarsely mashed root vegetables and cover that layer with the smooth mashed vegetables layer, make a spiral design on top with the back of a spoon, pour melted butter on top and sprinkle with the paprika powders and crushed pink peppercorns and bake in a 180°C preheated oven for 40-45 minutes (or with a lid for 60-75 minutes to avoid drying), then remove the lid and broil at 230°C for 2-3 minutes until golden and slightly crisped on top, remove the dish from the oven, let cool for 10-15 minutes and serve …
  • *note : if you serve it hot from the oven, it will be soft and spread out, but if you wait or reheat it later after initially baking it, it will be more solid and firm.