This recipe worked brilliantly for donation as it provided a warm comforting crowd pleaser to our NHS heroes. This is a great-value family meal and perfect for freezing and using at a later date when you want something quickly! This recipe can be used to make either Cottage pie or Shepherd’s Pie– simply swap the beef mince with lamb mince. Unfortunately, we could not get hold of celery so we used peas instead, however if you can use celery do as it is full of flavour and nutritional benefit.
2 tbsp olive oil
600g beef mince
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped 1 cm cubes
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon tomato purée
80 ml red wine (optional) or cranberry juice
400ml beef stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 sprigs of thyme (optional)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder or wet mustard
For the mash:
1kg potatoes, chopped & boiled
freshly grated nutmeg
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the beef mince until browned. Set aside in another dish.
- Using the pan from the beef, add another 1 tbsp olive oil into the pan, add the finely chopped onions, carrots and chopped celery sticks and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins.
- Add finely chopped garlic cloves, 2 tbsp plain flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan.
- Pour in the wine (or cranberry juice as a no alcohol alternative) and simmer to reduce it slightly before adding the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, mustard a few thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 25 mins – 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.
- Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes which you’ve peeled and chopped, in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
- Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
- Spoon the meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover.
- If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.
- If you want to use a slow cooker, brown your mince in batches then tip into your slow cooker and stir in the vegetables, flour, purée, wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs with some seasoning. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours. Make the mash following the previous steps, and then oven cook in the same way to finish.
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