Comforting Cottage Pie

Today’s post is all things comfort – a warming cottage pie, nonetheless.

One of the things I love about this meal is that I don’t need to worry about extras.  The potato is on top, the vegetables are in the middle and it creates its own gravy – brilliant.

The other thing that makes this great is that there are two portions – one for tonight’s dinner and one for the freezer, a real bonus.  We always try to make one dish every week that means we have extra left over for another midweek meal.  Food is so expensive, and with prices only seeming to go up, we try to be as careful as possible with what we buy and how far it’ll go.

So this cottage pie fits the bill nicely for lots of different reasons.  Top of the list, though, is its hearty, satisfying effect.  Truly scrumptious, especially on a wet and windy day.

Cottage Pie

Serves 4

Preparation time – 35 minutes.  Cooking time – 1 hour 50 minutes.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp tomato puree

300ml beef stock

150ml red wine

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp dried herbs

For the mash:

6 potatoes, chopped

150ml milk

25g butter

100g cheddar

Method:

Heat 1tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned.  Set aside.  Put the rest of the oil into the pan and add the onion and carrots; cook on a gentle heat until soft.  Add the garlic, flour and tomato puree, increase the heat and cook for a few minutes.  Return the beef to the pan and pour over the wine.  Boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and dried herbs.  Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat.

Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water and simmer for 25 minutes.  Drain well and allow the potatoes to steam-dry for a few minutes.  Mash well with the milk, butter and three-quarters of the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7.

Spoon the meat into four individual dishes or one square dish.  Spoon over the mash to cover the meat and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden.

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