Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cottage pie Recipe

This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I make this dish on a regular basis, even during the summer months but it is great winter warmer meal. I actually cook this then store in the fridge overnight then re-heat in the oven covered with tin foil the following day(I remove the tin foil for the last 10 mins of cooking to crisp the potato top)

I don't know why but it is just so much better the next day, some casseroles and stews are the same, better the day after cooking.
It can also be frozen at the pre-bake stage and thawed out and cooked at a later stage.


3 tbsp olive oil
1¼ kg beef mince
2 onions , finely chopped
3 carrots , chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
large glass red wine (optional)
850ml beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves


1.8kg potatoes , chopped
225ml milk
25g butter
200g strong cheddar , grated
freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned - you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato puree, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins - if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.


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