Monday, 27 September 2010

Hearty Cottage Pie

My boyfriend doesn't cook that much (because I'm very protective over my kitchen!), but when he does he makes epic scale home favourites like this hearty cottage pie. This pie is perfect for large numbers, or for keeping in the freezer for when you can't be bothered to cook but want something really warming and comforting!

Top tip: Cornflour is a nice little secret to make the sauce thicker if you haven't quite got the right consistency.

Serves 8-10


For the meat filling:

Minced Lean Beef - 900g
Onion - 2 large
Garlic - 4 cloves
Carrots - 2
Broccoli - 1 stem
Leek - 1
Worcester Sauce - 2 tbsp
Tomato Pureé - 2 tbsp
Bay Leaves - 2
Beef Stock - 1 cube
Red Wine - 1 glass
Cumin - 1 tsp
Cornflour (dissolved in 500mls boiling water) - 2 tbsp
Herbs Du Provence - 1 tbsp
Basil (dried) - 1 tbsp
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp

For the topping:

White Potatoes - 8 large
Cheddar - 125g grated
Wholegrain Mustard - 1 tbsp
Ground Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Milk - 50mls

1. First, peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water and let them boil for approx 20 minutes, until softened.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the meat filling. Dice the onions, and crush the garlic. Sauté in the olive oil in a large pan, until softened.

3. Slice the leek, peeled carrots and broccoli, and add to the pan. Lightly stir fry the vegetables for 3 minutes.

4. Divide the beef mince and add to the pan. Stir through until the mince browns. Sprinkle on the herbs du provence, stock cube, basil and cumin and mix well.

5. Pour in the Worcester sauce, red wine and tomato pureé, and mix through. Drop in the bay leaves.

6. Little by little add in the cornflour mixture, stirring all the time, and reduce until thicker. Keep adding a little cornflour mixture at a time and reducing until the meat filling is of a thick consistency. This can take up to 20 minutes.

7. Now drain the potatoes and mash them until smooth. Add in the milk a little at a time, whilst mashing. Then add in some, but not all of the grated cheddar. Finally stir in the mustard and pepper.

8. Prepare a large pie dish, by buttering the sides. Pour in the meat filling, taking out the bay leaves as you do. Then layer the mashed potato on top. Finish by sprinkling on the rest of the grated cheddar.

9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180degrees Celsius for 30-50 minutes, until the filling is bubbling through and the topping is crispy and golden.

Serve with winter vegetables and a large glass of full-bodied red wine.

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