Tuesday 13 May 2014

Carol's Cottage Pie

This is a real favourite, a real Winter warmer and real comfort food.
The recipe started out as my mums but it's evolved over the years and I am now most definitely claiming it as my own.
There are lots of potential variations on this recipe and you can really make it your own.  You could make it healthier by using turkey mince instead of beef.  You could be creative with your mash and use a leek and potato mash as your topping.  You could make a cheese and chive mash or you could make a mustard mash, whatever takes your fancy.
You can also be really flexible with the ingredients, both in what you use and how much of it.  You don't like celery?  Don't put it in.  You love mushrooms?  Put in loads.
I'll tell you how I cook mine, but you just need to adapt it and cook it so that you will love it.
Serves 4
Preparation time - 40 minutes
Cooking time (in the oven) - 30-45 minutes, depending on whether being cooked straight after preparation, when ingredients are still hot, or whether is being cooked from cold, if prepared earlier.

Oil for frying
500g lean beef mince
1 large onion - chopped
1 celery stick - chopped
1 large carrot - chopped
Mushrooms - as many as you want
500ml pint of beef stock - made from a cube
1 415g tin of baked beans
2 bay leaves
Worcestershire Sauce, enough to suit your taste
Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks - sufficient to make enough mash to cover the top of your pie
Knob of butter
Splash of milk
Grated cheese as much or as little as you like
1 large tomato - sliced
Black pepper
  1. Fry the onion, celery and carrot together in a large frying pan or wok until starting to soften.
  2. Add the minced beef and fry until browned all over, constantly stirring to break up the mince and mix in with the vegetables.
  3. Add the baked beans, stock, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for the time it takes to prepare and cook the potatoes.
  5. Put the potatoes in a pan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat.  Cook the potatoes on a constant simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.
  6. When the potatoes are nearly ready, use a slotted spoon to remove the minced beef mixture from the pan.  Strain the last bit and retain the remaining liquid to be used as gravy.  Keep the mixture fairly wet as you don't want your pie to be dry.
  7. Drain the potatoes and mash well, adding a knob of butter and a splash of milk.
  8. Spread the mashed potato on the top of the minced beef mixture.  Top with grated cheese and then sliced tomato.  Finish off with a dusting of ground black pepper.
  9. Cook in the oven at a temperature of 180 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the pie is hot all the way through.

Serve with vegetables of your choice and the gravy.
This dish can be made ahead, though may take longer to heat through.
It can also be made ahead and frozen, though ensure fully defrosted before heating.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm yum, I'm going to make this next week!


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