Cottage Pie in a Pan – Rudisil/Getty Images

Nothing says “comfort food” like ground beef and potatoes. Today, we’re exploring one simple way to elevate your homemade pie – a Northern English dish made with ground beef and chopped vegetables with a layer of mashed potatoes on top, all baked together in a casserole dish. This St. Patrick’s Day favorite is about to get even spicier with the introduction of keema.

If you haven’t tried it before, keema (also known as ‘khema’ or ‘qayma’) is a traditional North Indian dish made from ground, aromatic, slow-cooked lamb. We are talking about onions, garlic, green chillies and spices like cumin, turmeric, ginger, garam masala, Kashmiri chilli powder and others. This spiced ground lamb dish is stir-fried with peas and tomatoes and served with pita bread, naan, rice or roti. It is also used as a filling for samosas and biryani. This homemade keema pie is a cultural culinary fusion where worlds collide and is greater than the sum of its parts – and it’s all about the spices. Plus, it makes a one-pan meal impressive enough for parties but simple enough for family dinners on busy weekends. (Pro tip: For easy entertaining, you can assemble your homemade keema pie in advance and pop it in the oven right before dinnertime.)

Read more: 25 delicious Indian dishes you should try at least once

It’s time to open your spice cabinet

A pot of boiling

Keema pot – Tatiana Volgotova/Shutterstock

Both cottage pie and kimya use a similar vegetable assortment, so to make this fusion dish, you can pretty much fall back on the classic cottage pie recipe. To incorporate the flavor of keema, add the spices directly to meats and vegetables as they cook, or simply mix turmeric into the mashed potatoes before topping them. Kashmiri and/or serrano chiles turn up the heat, so you can adjust your dish to be as mild or spicy as you like. Serve with a generous dollop of butter on top, or a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt to help balance out the spicy profile of the dish. In an airtight container, it can keep for four days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

Ideally, choose ground beef that contains at least 15% fat to ensure a tender and rich meal. You can replace lamb with minced meat according to your taste. (Just know that if you do this, it’s technically a “shepherd’s pie” now, not a cottage pie.) Goat is also a popular choice of protein for keema in India. Feel free to exercise a little creative freedom with the filling as well. Leeks, cashews, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon are all fair game. You can also use ginger mashed sweet potatoes instead of classic mashed potatoes.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.

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