Green Cottage Pie

I hate pot pies. Hate them. I really will never understand what makes people like them. But cottage and shepherd pies? LOVE. We wanted to up the amount of beans we eat, since it's an easy way to increase protein in the diet, and I made a huge batch of Appaloosa beans. Also, Ross really wanted to have a casserole, and since I think normally the only two casseroles I make are lasagna and tuna it seemed like a fun way to mix things up. So I thought I'd put a couple cans' worth in this, in place of some other kind of meat. I called it green not because it's environmentally friendly (although it is that), but because the avocado in the mashed potatoes makes it literally green. Which is kind of fun, unless you don't like that sort of thing in which case you can just wait until Saint Patrick's day to make this. Anyway, if you're wanting this with meat, just add that in (before the veggies) and take out (or not) the beans. Hope you enjoy!

2 big glugs olive oil
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
3 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon each: tarragon, sumac
half a stick (4 tablespoons) butter
juice of half a lemon

2 cans (3 cups) drained and rinsed beans: kidney, appaloosa OR pinto
1/2 cup beer

3-4 Russet potatoes, skins left on and chopped
32 ounces stock (I had veggie on hand, but you can use what you want)
1 very ripe avocado
half a stick of butter
1/2 cup (ish) yogurt, cream cheese or labne
salt and pepper to taste

Put the glugs of oil in your pan and turn the heat on to medium. Then add all the veggies, and spices, plus the lemon juice and stir around a bit. Put the butter on top of all that so it just melts in on its own time. Let cook until onions are translucent and carrots are softening (and butter is melted, of course). Once this is all cooked, add the beans and beer (and salt if needed) and stir about to heat through, cooking down the beer a bit.

In the interim, boil potatoes in a covered pan with some salt (if your stock isn't salted) and the stock. Ideally, your stock will be roughly at the same level of the pot as the potatoes, but it's okay if it's a little over or under. When the potatoes are very soft and full of stock, drain them, and mash in the avocado, half stick of butter, yogurt, and any salt and pepper you may be using.

Put the veggie mixture in an 8x8" pan, along with any pan juices. Top with mashed potatoes (you can pipe them if you're cool in that way, but I fail at piping so I just spoon it in) and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Serves 2-4.


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