Recipes from the Golden Age of Cinema: Jean Harlow's Cottage Meat Pie

I am a tremendous fan of Jean Harlow -- not just her work, but the woman behind the silver screen. Her life was plagued by scandal and, in the end, tragedy. But before that, she was the kind of film star who, if she happened to meet you on the street, might invite you to that evening's barbecue. She truly wanted to make her guests feel welcome, and was known as more of a tomboy than a glamour girl to those who knew her best -- more at home in pants than in sequined dresses.


Which is perhaps why I had to try out one of her recipes, in preparation for the upcoming colder months. 


Jean Harlow's Cottage Meat Pie

21 ounces cooked beef roast (4 cups cooked pot roast or boiled beef, chopped fine)
1 teaspoon parsley, minced
2 tablespoons yellow onion, minced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 pimento peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Nutmeg, dash
4 tablespoons butter

For the Topping
4 cups mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon milk

Mix beef with the parsley, onion, Worcestershire, pimento, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Butter a baking dish and pour in meat mixture. Top with mashed potatoes (seasoned with salt and pepper), then smooth with knife dipped in milk. Use the knife to make cross lines with fork across.

Brush top with melted butter, then season.

Bake in moderate oven (Jean's words, this really means anywhere between 350–375°F) for 45 minutes or until golden.

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