Cottage Pie

Ingredients – Serves 10

70ml Olive oil
1.25kg Beef mince
600g Onions, finely diced
360g Carrots, diced
120g Celery, diced
21g Garlic, minced
14g Plain flour
10g Tomato puree
250ml Red cooking wine
850ml Beef stock
70ml Worcestershire sauce
3 Thyme sprigs
2 Bay leaves

For the mash

1.8kg Potatoes, peeled & chopped
225ml Milk, semi-skimmed
25g Butter, salted
200g Cheddar, grated
5g Nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Heat a third of the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry 1¼ kg beef mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns.
  2. Put the rest of the olive oil into the pan, add 2 finely chopped onions, 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery sticks and cook on a gentle heat until soft, for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, plain flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few minutes, then return the beef to the pan.
  4. Pour over a large glass of red wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the 850ml beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, a few thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 minutes – 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.
  6. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the 1.8kg potatoes which you’ve peeled and chopped, in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
  7. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheddar cheese, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  8. Spoon the meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
  9. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.

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