Cottage pie is another one of those staple meals that somehow manage to keep these cold winter nights at bay. It is a meal that I used to make fairly regularly at university as it was affordable and could easily feed a large number of people. It is what I would describe as wholesome food – it gives you a good dose of protein, vegetables and carbs. It is a meal that could very easily be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for cooking later in the week. It is definitely a meal to keep in mind during these winter months as it is another one of those comfort foods.
For the meat sauce:
- 400g minced beef
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 2-3 carrots (peeled and diced)
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
- 2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1tsp mixed herbs
- 1 beef stock cube
- oil (for cooking with)
For the mashed potato topping:
- 5-6 medium potatoes (peeled, cut into quarters)
- knob of butter
- 3-5tbsp milk
- 25-50g grated cheese
Step 1 – make the meat sauce
- Place the onions and garlic in a pan with a little oil and allow to soften.
- Add the meat and cook stirring occasionally until it has browned off.
- Add the carrots, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock cube, herbs, half of the ketchup and the Worcestershire sauce and season well.
- Allow the sauce to bubble away and reduce slightly for 20-30 minutes. Then taste and add more ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning as necessary.
Step 2 – make the mashed potato topping
- Whilst the sauce is reducing start making the potato topping.
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan with some salt, cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer until potatoes are cooked (to test see if a knife passes through the potatoes easily).
- Drain the potatoes and put back in the saucepan.
- Add the milk, butter and seasoning then using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until they are smooth.
Step 3 – make up the cottage pie
- Place the meat sauce in a deep ovenproof dish.
- Then carefully cover with the mashed potato and create a swirly pattern using a fork.
- Finally top with some grated cheese.
- Place in the oven and cook at 180C fan for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with the vegetables of your choice.