Because I’m something of a pedant at times, I’d like to get something cleared up: a shepherd’s pie is made using lamb and a cottage pie is made with beef. They are not interchangeable names,’k? 😉
Now that’s sorted, let’s clarify something else: a traditional cottage pie contains diced carrots and celery, perhaps some peas, and is topped with mashed potato. This is not a traditional cottage pie recipe, but by swapping ingredients you could make it so.
1 small swede
a knob of butter
1-2 onions, diced
approx. 1 tablespoon oil
500g minced beef
some mushrooms, sliced
500ml good beef stock OR 500ml water & 2 beef stockpots/stock cubes
2 tablespoons cornflour, in a mug, blended to a smooth paste with a little cold water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinny on? Peeler a go-go? Ok then…
Set the oven to preheat at gas mark 5/375°F/190°C.
Now, let’s get cracking with the root vegetable mash topping.
Peel and dice the swede, peel and slice the carrots, peel and cube the potatoes; place everything into a large pan of water and boil until tender. Don’t bunk off while your veg is boiling – you need to get your pie filling ready.
Heat the oil in a medium pan, add diced onions and cook until soft but not browned.
Add mince and cook, stirring, until the mince becomes that attractive grey colour.
Drain off any excess fat, add sliced mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes.
Add beef stock and bring to the boil then turn down heat a little.
To thicken the gravy, ladle some of the hot stock into the mug with the cornflour paste, stir really well to make sure there are no lumps, then tip the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time. Simmer for another minute or so then remove from heat.
Pour into an oven proof dish (or individual ones) and allow to cool slightly. The cooling helps stop your mash sinking.
When your vegetables are cooked (you hadn’t forgotten about them had you?), drain them and return to the pan. Add a generous knob of butter and a good helping of salt and pepper. Mash.
Spoon mashed veg on top of meat and gravy, flatten down with a fork, then bake in the preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
It’s a good idea to put an empty baking tray at the bottom of the oven to catch gravy overflow.
Served with braised red cabbage and steamed green beans.