Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

Fantastic, traditional winter warmer. Filling, wholesome and delicious.


500g lean steak mince
5 decent sized potatoes
Handful of Thyme sprigs
Bay leaf
1 large carrot halved length ways and finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
4 tablespoons full of tomato puree
a handful of garden peas
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
Tablespoon of butter
25 mls of milk
1 pint of rich beef stock (twice the strength of what you would normally use in a gravy).
25g of grated cheddar cheese

The Cooking:

In a deep pan, brown your mince and pour off any surplus liquid. Put to one side. Then in clean oil (only a couple of tea spoons full) start to fry your carrot, onion, garlic and peas. Once golden in colour, add the browned mince back to the pan along with the thyme and bay leaf. Season generously with salt and crushed black pepper, the tomato puree, give it all a good stir, then pour in your stock,  cover and simmer on a medium to low heat for about an hour to an hour and a half (if you have the time). Stir occasionally. If it starts to dry out, add some water.

To make the mash to cover your pie, peel your potatoes and slice into chunks, then put in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Prod with a fork to make sure they are cooked and soft. Then drain off the water, mash to a pulp, add your butter and cream and stir in, with a fork. Then gradually pour in your milk, whisking as you go, until you have a smooth puree. You need it to be quite stiff and malleable like a meringue rather than runny as you don't want it sinking into or worse still, merging with the filling. If you are concerned its  a bit "loose" then thicken it with a some grated cheese and a tea spoon or two of plain flour, on a high heat.

Transfer your pie filling into a heatproof dish. As you do so, pick out the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs. Top it with the mashed potato and spread all over it so it covers the whole surface. Finally, sprinkle with grated cheddar and pop it under a hot grill until the surface is browned and crispy.

Serve with green veg and preferably a pint of a full flavoured nutty ale like an IPA or Hobgoblin.

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