Saturday, 22 January 2011

_ Chunky Cottage Pie _

Winter Warmers, an easy to cook hearty meal, full of natural ingredients & goodness. A nourishing, tasty, comforting & satisfyingly filling dish for all of the family. Served with delicious accompanying vegetables to suit your taste buds. Many make the mistake of calling the Shepherds Pie  ..  but it isn't the difference is Cottage Pie is made with Beef whereas as , just as it sounds, shepherds Pie is made with Lamb :)
Minced steak beef.  onions,  leeks,  mushrooms,  garlic,  potatoes,  cheese.
Gravy:  tomato puree,  Italian spices,  herbs,  smoked paprika,  salt & pepper.
(you can also add a tin of plum tomatoes to your beef stock which brings a lovely richness 
to the gravy. This one hasn't the tomatoes in simply because I didn't have any 
& as I tend to took with what I have at the moment, making up my recipes to suit  what I do have )

Accompanying Vegetables
Runner beans,  carrots,  petit pois,  green beans.

 Step by step instructions  
  • Remove minced beef from packaging. Rinse the minced beef in a colander under cold running water. 
  • Drain & pat dry a little then add to a large frying saucepan. 
Minced Steak Beef
Rinse Minced Beef in Colander
Saute Minced Steak in own juices

  • Once minced beef is added to a low heat on the stove.
  • Peel the required amount of potatoes.  Rinse peeled potatoes in a colander under cold running water. Or fill a pan with cold water and submerge potatoes into pan of water. Remove from colander, Place onto chopping board. With a sharp  vegetable knife half then quarter the peeled potatoes, or cut to whatever size you prefer.  Add cut portions of potatoes to a saucepan of cold, salted water. Add to a med heat on the stove, bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on the pan until potatoes are fluffy and soft enough to mash. Usually around 20 - 25 minutes. Please watch your timing to suit size of potatoes. 

Dice peeled potatoes 
Peel potatoes, I prefer to use otatoe peeler 
Add portions of potatoes to a saucepan of salted  cold water,
 add to heat, bring to boil, add lid, simmer until tender.
  • Put on the saucepan lid to prevent potatoes burning dry. Check the minced beef. Turn over the simmering pink minced beef in the saucepan, the underneath mince should now be turning a nice light brown. Once all of the minced beed is totally brown remove from heat & drain away excess fat. Then add boiling hot beef stock, add pinch of salt, pepper to taste, swirl of tomato puree & spices / herbs. All can be added to the stock if preferred. Stir in stock return the lid & continue to simmer. Add a few bay leaves to add to maturing flavours.
Add hot liquid stock to browned minced beef. Add bay leaves .
  • Both the main ingredients are now cooking on the stove. Time to wash & prepare the additional vegetables which are added, once sautéed,  into the minced beef. 
  • Peel & crush 3 garlic cloves. Add knob of butter to small frying saucepan, melt gently & add crushed garlic. 
  • Peel & slice onion. Add onion to garlic.  Once onion & garlic are soft remove from heat & add to minced beef mixture.
  • Top & tail leeks, slide knife down the middle of the leek shaft, open gently & wash thoroughly. Once clean slice leeks into equal size portions. Rinse again to make sure no soil remains in layers of the leek. 
  • Add sliced leeks to the remaining onions & garlic buttery juices . When soft but not browned remove from heat adding leeks to the minced beef mixture.
  • Add little butter to the small empty saucepan  that cooked the onion, garlic & leeks - using the delicious flavours of all - once butter is melted add sliced mushrooms. Saute & brown the sliced mushrooms then add to the minced beef mixture. 
  • Check the mince is thoroughly browned,  add all of the lean cooked minced beef, with the onions, garlic, leeks & mushrooms into a  large ovenproof serving dish. 
Peel & slice garlic
Crush garlic then dice into tiny pieces
Run knife down middle of leek shaft
Rinse Leeks in running cold water
Slice Leeks
Top, tail & peel onion
Slice onion, tip: always keep a window open next to where you cut onions, prevents tears! :)

Herbs, Spices & Tomato Puree

Add Leeks, Garlic, Onions & Mushrooms to Minced Beef
Add Minced Beef & Veggies

Mash the potatoes

Add cooked minced beef, onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms & stock into large oven proof dish

  • Once potatoes are mashed to an absolute smooth consistency, add knob of butter. Some at this point add milk or cream or beaten egg depending upon taste. I find a knob of butter is creamy enough for our taste. Add large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes onto top of minced beef mixture. Arrange evenly over mixture with fork.
Using a fork gives the mashed potatoes a nicely uneven surface for cooking
  • Add the oven proof dish to a moderately hot oven, Cook for about 45 mins to an hour. Then remove from oven, add grated cheese on top of the mashed potatoes ( which should look a motley, beautiful golden colour). Return to the oven & cook for a further 15 minutes.
Grate the Cheese
Grated Cheese
  • While Cottage Pie is finishing off in the oven, prepare your desired veggies.  We're having green beans. So I cut off the top end of the beans but I don't tail them. I prefer to cook them full length with their little tails on, they look so beautiful when cooked, displayed on the dinner plate. 
  • Cook in saucepan of salted, boiling water for around 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Remove Cottage Pie from the oven & allow to rest, warm dinner plates up in the oven so food served upon them stays nicely warm as youre eating.

French Green Beans
Remove the hard storky bit at top of green bean
Add boiling water to green beans, add salt, cook to suit your taste.
We prefer our veggies a little on the firmer side then the softer so we only do ours for 5 minutes.
Once cooked to taste, drain & serve.
Delicious Cottage Pie
  • Serve on a warmed plate with vegetables. Suggestions: green beans, runner beans, carrots, broccoli any veggie like that are all delicious accompaniments.  Enjoy!!
Nice, Nutritious, Winter Warming Satisfyingly Filling Food
Enough left in serving dish for tomorrow too :)
As we were very full afterwards, we just finished with a simple coffee,
half a piece of homemade fruit cake & a chocolate biscuit as opposed to a dessert.
Hope you enjoy this traditional, old fashioned family wholesome meal. As you can see its easy to prepare, cook yet very tasty. Recipe can be change to suit taste buds.

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