Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cottage Pie

This morning it was an unbelievable 10 Centigrade, which is pretty Arctic by Emirates standards, although of course any passing brass monkeys are safe - it's only cold for us lilly-livered expats in our unheated villas... But it feels cold, so the comfort food push continues - and this recipe is pretty much perfect comfort food!
Cottage pie or shepherd's pie? People apparently argue about this, which goes to show that there are those with way too much time on their hands, but in my little world, cottage pie is made with beef and shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. Whatever. This is a smasher served with peas and a dark, rich gravy. I like to add a sploosh of truffle oil to the mash, just to make it all a touch richer and more wicked. Because we all secretly aspire to be rich and wicked…


  • 500g mince
  • 600g potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 large mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ nutmeg, grated
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g cheddar, grated

Fry the mince to colour it and set aside. Fry the onion over a medium heat in a little oil for a while until it starts to colour and then add the bacon, mushroom, garlic and carrots. Turn the heat up and return the mince to the pan, mix it all up then sprinkle the flour, thyme, sage and bay and stir it all up. Add the chopped tomato, the tomato puree and finally the red wine and salt. Stir it all together and turn the heat to low and cook the mixture, covered, for a good 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes (about 12-15 minutes) until they’re just softened and drain them. Leave them to steam, ideally in a strainer, so that they start to become fluffy around the edges. Mash them with the butter and nutmeg as well as some salt to taste and a good dash of olive oil. I like to add a splash of truffle oil at this stage, too.

Pour the meat mixture into a dish, topping with the potato mixture to coat the base evenly – do this by hand so that the potato stays light. Smooth the potato topping with a fork and then top it all off with the cheddar and a quite enormous amount of black pepper and then bake it in an oven at GM6/200C/400F for 30 minutes or until the top browns.

1 comment:

Keefieboy said...

Now, what I thought was that shepherd's pie is topped with mashed spuds, whereas cottage pie is sliced spuds.