Liberty Commons' "Proper Dorset" cottage pie

A rustic and indulgent cottage pie with baked beef bone marrow

Image for Liberty Commons' "Proper Dorset" cottage pie

This recipe is perfectly designed for a home kitchen, even though you can easily get it at Toronto's Liberty Commons. The dish is as comforting as it is impressive, and the filling is best made the night before or left for 30 minutes to firm up before assembling the pie.


2 tbsp canola oil
1 kg medium ground beef
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 medium rutabaga, diced
72 g tomato paste
1 473 mL can Big Rock Traditional Ale, or another dark brown ale or stout
1 litre beef stock
3 tbsp soy sauce, optional
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
60 g cornstarch
60 g water
100 g frozen peas
50 g frozen corn, optional

Heat oil in a wide based pot over high head until nearly smoking. Season beef with salt and pepper. Crumble beef around pot using the entire surface area. Use a whisk to break the chunks of beef down. Remove ground beef from the pot and strain fat once nicely browned.

Using half of the strained fat, sauté the onions, garlic, celery, carrot, and rutabaga in the same pot until softened.

Add the tomato paste to the vegetable mixture, and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Add the ground beef back to pot and deglaze with beer. When the beer is reduced by half, add beef stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and thyme. (If you don’t want to use soy sauce, adjust taste with stock and salt). Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. At this point, test the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl, mix together cornstarch and water, and add to filling to thicken it.

Add the frozen peas and corn, if using.

Check seasoning one more time and adjust to your taste. Pour filling into a deep, heavy bottomed tray and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes, or until firm.


7 to 8 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 stick butter
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp Dijon or English mustard
1 egg yolk, if using

In a pot, cover potatoes with water and season with salt. Taste the water. If you season your potatoes nicely during cooking, you will get a far better flavour than seasoning after they are cooked and mashed. Adjust the salt to your taste. Place over high heat. When the potatoes boil, turn heat down to a simmer.

When you can pierce the potato all the way through with a skewer or small knife, strain in a colander. Mash the potatoes until smooth.

Add butter until fully incorporated, then follow with sour cream and mustard. Add egg yolk (to help get a nice, golden and crispy top while it bakes).


4 to 6 2-inch cross-cut bone marrow, rinsed under running water for 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 400˚ F.

Slather the mash on top of the firm pie filling, spreading it around evenly.

Using a fork, make a crisscross pattern on the top of the pie, creating little pockets for your mash to get super crispy.

If using bone marrow, stick the bone marrow into your pie, so that they bake inside of it (Waste zero delicious marrow fat!)

Place pie in oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pie filling is hot, the mash is crispy, and the marrow is soft all the way through. Use a tooth pick or skewer to check this!

Remove from the oven and top it off with some chopped chives, green onions, parsley or ALL!

Place in the centre of the table, ask everyone to wait until you’re sat down and GET STUCK IN!