Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Cottage Pie

Easy-everyday cooking at its finest, but not short on flavour! This recipe uses bay leaf and thyme to add a dimension to a British classic

Serves 4-6

500g Beef mince
1 Large onion, chopped finely
2 Large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
2 Sprigs fresh thyme (or one and a half teaspoon's of dried)
1 Bay leaf
400g Can chopped tomatoes
125ml Beef stock plus one extra cube
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
4 Large potatoes (Maris piper or good baking potato), peeled and cut into quarters
25g Butter
50ml Milk
Vegetable oil

1. For the mince, add a dash of vegetable oil to a large pan, preferably a stock-pot and set over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and carrots and gently fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions become soft.

2. Add the mince, bay leaf, thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the mince browns. Add the tomato puree, stir and cook for 2mins.

3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stock, simmer and thicken over a medium-low heat for 20 minutes.Season and crumble in the stock cube. Preheat the oven to 190C.

4. Boil the kettle and place the potatoes into a saucepan with a pinch of salt, add the water and boil for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.

5. Drain the potatoes and add the butter, milk and mash. Pass through a potato ricer for ultra-smooth mash, season well with salt and pepper.

6. Pour the mince mixture into an ovenproof baking dish and level off the top. Carefully place blobs of mash around the top and smooth over, alternatively, fill a piping bag with the mash and pipe over the top for a professional touch.

7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top of the mash is golden brown. Leave to stand for 10 minutes and serve.

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