Mimi's Cottage Pie

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This is really my comfort food of choice, it takes me straight back to my childhood and is really one of my favourite things to eat. It is no coincidence that there are two versions (one for weaning and this more complex one) on the website. Like all good family foods it can be batch cooked, prepped ahead and enjoyed several times over.

In this version I add a dash of Worcestershire sauce for added flavour and also lentils, to pack in more nutrition and make the beef mince go further. The mash has grain mustard and parsley, to make it even better. I hope your family will love this as much as mine do.

n.b. these can be frozen in a ceramic dish. BUT, de-frost before cooking; otherwise the change in temperature can crack the dish! ~ lesson learnt…

 

Batch cook quantities for 8-10 servings ~

the filling: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 large onions, peeled and diced

  • 4 carrots, washed, trimmed, peeled and diced

  • 4 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled (I always peel celery to remove the stringy outer layer) and diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 500g lean mince beef ( 5% fat), organic ~ buy the best quality you can get, I look for grass fed

  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

  • 400g tin of organic plum tomatoes

  • 400g tin of organic brown lentils, drained and rinsed well

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 200ml cold water

Batch cook quantities for 8-10 servings ~

the mash: 

  • 1kg white potatoes

    (I use maris piper potatoes for mashing), peel and cut into large chunks

  • 50g unsalted butter

  • 100ml organic milk, approx

  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

  • black pepper, to season

Quantities for a family of four (approx) ~

the filling: 

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 carrots, washed, trimmed, peeled and diced

  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled (I always peel celery to remove the stringy outer layer) and diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 250g lean mince beef ( 5% fat), organic ~ buy the best quality you can get, I look for grass fed

  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

  • 200g tinned organic plum tomatoes (1/2 can)

  • 200g tin of organic brown lentils, drained and rinsed well (1/2 can)

  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 100ml cold water

Quantities for a family of four (approx) ~

the mash: 

  • 500g white potatoes

    (I use maris piper potatoes for mashing), peel and cut into large chunks

  • 25g unsalted butter

  • 50ml organic milk, approx

  • 1 tablespoon grain mustard

  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

  • black pepper, to season

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1. to make the filling

  • Take a large ceramic pot and add the oil, onion, carrot and celery. Gently saute until softened, for 10 minutes approx, you want the vegetables to soften but not brown. Add the crushed garlic clove and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Next add the mince, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula as you stir. You want the mince to colour but not brown, to avoid toughening the meat. Once the mince is cooked all over add the tomato puree, plum tomatoes, cooked lentils, Worcestershire sauce and water.

  • Bring it up to a gentle boil and then lower heat to a simmer for 30 mins. Stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce, thicken and intensify in flavour.

  • Set aside to cool

2. to make the mash: 

  • Bring a large pan of boiling water to the boil and add the potato chunks. Ensuring they are large chunks so the potatoes don’t disintegrate, as they boil. Cook the potatoes until completely soft, when pierced with a knife. Drain and leave the potatoes in a sieve to steam a little and ensure most of the water is removed. You can also cover them with a lid, to let them steam a little, if you have time. The direr the potato, the better the mash!

  • Next, I press the cooked potatoes through a potato ricer, before mashing. But you can just mash by hand straight away. Adding the butter and milk as you go, to loosen the potato and create a creamy mash.

  • Once you are happy with the consistency add the mustard, parsley and black pepper, to season. Combine well and set aside.

3. make up the mini cottage pies:

Take your ceramic & oven proof dishes, if you are batch cooking for several meals I always recommend using lots of different sized dishes. It gives you a better range of meal options from one cook.

Fill the dish/ dishes with a layer of the beef and tomato ragu. Then top with a layer of the mashed potato. Smooth over the potato. I like to score the mash with a fork, as the ridges will brown in the oven and crisp.

  • Either, cool, chill and cover, to place in the fridge and cook later

  • Or, cool completely, cover and label. Then freeze, to cook on another day (3 months approx)

  • Or, cook immediately in a preheated oven at 180C (fan oven). Cook for 20-25 minutes until the mash is nicely browned, the pies are bubbling and piping hot all the way through. Cool and serve.

 
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meatMiriam Cooper