I first read about this recipe in an article about Dorie Greenspan's cookbook.
This is my adaptation of it - I added more herbs & vegetables to the broth, chose andouille sausage to give a little spice to the filling & added chives to the potato topping. It's a little time consuming but the layered flavors are well worth the effort it takes to make the homemade broth & mashed potatoes.
To me, it's a more sophisticated version of Shepard's pie, a dish I always loved as a kid. —Peggio
beef (stew, chuck or cube steak), cut into small pieces
For the beef & broth:
Add beef, shallot, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper & water to a dutch oven or saucepan & bring to a boil, skimming off any foam & solids that come to the top.
Lower heat & simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Taste after an hour & if broth is too mild, feel free to add 1/2 boullion cube or packet (this was in the original recipe but I didn't see the need for it) to intensify the flavor.
Drain the meat, reserving the broth & vegetables. Transfer the meat to a cutting board & chop into tiny pieces. If the vegetables are still flavorful, cut those into small pieces & hold.
Strain the broth and reserve.
For the filling:
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil & when it's hot, add sausage, breaking into pieces. Add the beef & tomato paste to the sausage, mix well & then add a cup of the reserved broth. Bring to a boil and make sure there is enough liquid to moisten the filling, add more if it's too dry but the liquid should just be able to bubble up around the meat.
Season with salt & pepper, add vegetables to the meat mixture & put into a casserole dish (or deep dish pie plate), cover tightly while you prepare the potatoes.
For the topping:
Peel & cut potatoes, add to cold, salted water, bring to a boil for about 20 minutes & drain
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Warm the milk & cream, mash the potatoes well, add milk/cream, butter. & chopped chives. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Spread the potatoes over the meat, making sure to cover all the way to the edge.
Sprinkle the grated Gruyere cheese over the potatoes and cover that with grated parmesan, if desired.
Dot with another tablespoon of butter and place casserole dish on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Bake for about 30 minutes ... the top should have a golden brown crust & the filling should be bubbling. Remove from oven & let sit for a few minutes before serving.