Beer Simmered Cottage Pie

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Cheers to one of the most boring weekends we've ever had. It was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. The two of us ran ourselves pretty ragged over the holidays and caught two different bugs between us. Robert battled a cough and cold early in the week, and I came in on the tail with a fever and body aches. I felt fine by Friday but the thought of doing anything besides some much overdue cleaning and going grocery shopping seemed unnecessary, crazy even. The highlight of our Sunday was making this meal, and devouring it the moment I set my camera down. The winter weather is still proving to be bizarre on all fronts, hopping from freezing to not particularly freezing every other day, but that hasn't kept me from craving the cold weather classics that we love making this time of year.  

Our take on cottage pie involves a super hearty, beer simmered vegetable mixture with chicken thighs. The beer adds a really rich flavor, and when Robert handed me the first bite I said "oh my god this tastes like poutine!" Poutine, because of the gravy-like consistency of the sauce and the potatoes, sliced thin and placed on top get a nice crisp on them. It's basically the best thing in the world, given my love of poutine and winter meals like this. I'd like to say next weekend will be more eventful, but I have a feeling January is going to be an easygoing month, and I am a-okay with that. 

Beer Simmered Cottage Pie
serves 6-8

1.5 lbs chicken thighs, bones removed and cut into large chunks
8 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
3 potatoes, sliced very thinly
5 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
12 oz dark beer, porter or stout
3 tbs flour
3 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbs fresh thyme + 1 tsp additional for topping
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil. When shimmering, add chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from dutch oven and set aside. Add 2 tbs butter and stir until melted. When butter has melted, add mushrooms and onions. Cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, shallot, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. 

Add beer to deglaze, taking care to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the dutch oven. Add chicken thighs and herbs, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 2 minutes. Add flour and stir to combine. 

Transfer to a well greased 9x9’' baking dish and top with potato slices. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over top of potato slices. Top with additional 1 tsp thyme and freshly ground pepper. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until potato slices are tender. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.