21 March 2014

Pearl's Pantry ~ Recipe 2: Cottage Pie

Hello! Time for another exciting installment in my recipe series :) Today I'm going to show you how I make Cottage Pie. Now, this is one of those dishes with an infinite number of variations. I like it this way, but you might not. Feel free to change ingredients as you wish.

Also, I cheated quite a lot with this version as I was doing it mid-week and madam and I just wanted fed. If I did it at the weekend I might make more of it from scratch.

To make Cottage Pie for 2/3 you will need:

200g Mince (I've used Quorn mince because it means you don't have to brown it off before using in the recipe.)
125g Mushrooms.
400g Mash.
100g Cheese (optional, but I can't leave it off!)
1 Small Onion.
1 table spoon Tomato Puree.
2 Cloves of Garlic or a big squeeze of Garlic Paste like I have here.
1 table spoon of Oil.
Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs to taste.

1 large, deep Frying Pan/Saute Pan
1 Ovenproof Dish 
Set the Oven to 200C or Gas Mk 6

Now, has to be said before I start, I only used about half that pack of mince, and half those mushrooms. Just use the full pack if you want to make enough for 4-6 servings!

Also, if you use minced beef/pork/lamb whatever you'll need to fry this off to brown it and keep it to one side (empty it on to a plate with some kitchen towel on) while you get to the point where I add the mince in! Likewise, if you're making your own mash you need to pop the potatoes on to boil before you start anything else. 

Right, I always start by making sure everything I need to chop is done first. In this case, the onion and the mushrooms. I like big bits of mushroom, so mine is chunky. Substitute mushrooms for carrots or swede or whatever you prefer (red pepper is another fave of mine, but madam is having a no peppers phase *sigh*)

Then heat your oil in the pan and when it's hot add your onion and turn the heat down. Cook them for a minute or so by themselves.

Next, add your mushrooms (or whatever veg you used) cook that for another minute or so.

I then put in my tomato puree, garlic paste (so much easier!) salt, pepper and mixed herbs.

You need to let it cook like that for 30 seconds or so. If you think it's sticking, don't add more oil, just a splash of water to loosen it off.

Then we add in the mince (the pre-browned stuff if that's what you used). I then put a small amount of water in. We do not want watery mince, people! You can use stock if you prefer, I'm cooking for a small child I don't want to add too much salt...

Right, let it come to a simmer, put a lid on and leave it to cook away to itself for 10mins. This lets our flavours develop!

While that's cooking, we have to sort out the mash. Now, if you boiled potatoes you will have to drain them and mash them as you normally would. Me being lazy, I bought it ready made! And this is potato, carrot and swede mash as it's our favourite. Again, use what YOU like.

I shoved it in the micro for 3 minutes to make it easier to use and then gave it a stir. If you skip this step you will probably have some rather unco-operative mash on your hands...

The cooked mince should look a bit like this, see, not too watery! The more water there is, the more your mash will sink, more dense mince makes this next bit easier!

Then, when your mince is ready, tip it in the ovenproof container of your choice.

Spoon the mash on the top, carefully before smoothing it over.

Top with the cheese, if using. If you're not adding cheese you might want to use a fork to make marks in the mash to give it a bit of yummy texture.

Bung in the oven for 15-20 mins to make sure the cheese is melted and it's piping hot throughout.

Serve with your choice of vegetables/salad/whatever and enjoy! We like peas with our pie. And I like big marrowfat tinned peas the best of all! Mmmm, luminous green!

Any questions?

Love, Pearl.

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