So to start off with the first post, I decided to make a meal that screams of comfort food. Whilst it does take a bit of a while to get the meal done, once you take that first bite, heaven couldn’t seem closer if you were Adam trying to touch God’s finger in the “Creation of Adam” fresco created by Michaelangelo. The meal I speak of is Cottage Pie. There is much debate as to what exactly a cottage pie is and how it is different to a Shepherd’s pie...I don’t know. The dominant theory is that Sheperds pie uses lamb mince, whilst a cottage pie uses beef mince. I don’t know about you, but the term “Sheperds Pie” does not get my tastebuds going quite as well, so I prefer the term cottage pie. Besides, comparing the price of ground (mince) beef to ground lamb, a student would pick up the beef mince in a heartbeat without even so much as glancing at the lamb in the meat section. This cottage pie that I made is full of flavour, and just makes you want to cuddle up next to a fire and watch TCM movies all day either by yourself, or with a significant other. Here is the recipe:
olive oil for a healthier meal
r otherwise. Just not wholewheat or semolina...
chicken stock works as well
not essential, but adds a beautiful beefy flavour
fresh thyme is best, but dried thyme works quite effectively as well
up to 4, optional
|For the mash:|
salt and black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned. You may need to do this in batches if your saucepan is not large enough. Set the mince aside once browned.
Put the other 2 tbsp oil in the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, flour and tomato paste, and increase the heat and cook for a few minutes, then return the beef to the pan.
Pour the wine and boil to reduce it slightly, and after that, add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and herbs.
Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after 30 minutes, and if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy. Once done, discard the bay leaves. Preheat your oven to 220C at this point in time.
Whilst the meat is simmering away, make the mash. In a large pot, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, and bring to the boil and simmer until fork-tender. Drain, and allow the potatoes to dry for a few minutes. Add the butter, black pepper, salt and some of the milk, and mash the potatoes. Add some more milk if required, but be careful to not make the mash too watery. Once it is done, add 3 quarters of the cheddar cheese and stir it in, making sure that the cheese melts in the process.
Spoon meat into an ovenproof dish, and spoon the mash on top to cover, flattening in the process. You can make pretty patterns in the mash with a fork if you so desire. Sprinkle the remaining quarter of cheese on top, and pop the pie into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.
This meal would go great with a Greek salad, coleslaw, or roasted vegetables. A glass of red wine would complement the meal beautifully, and seeing as you may have already opened the bottle during cooking, you may as well have another glass! I hope you enjoy this meal. Do provide feedback, and if you think there is something that could be added, or modified, let me know.