Hearty Cottage Pie

This weeks recipe is one to celebrate the end of British Pie Week, and is one that went down a treat. For my first ever cottage pie I was really pleased with how this went, it’s a real hearty home cooked meal that fills you with home comforts after the first mouthful, definitely my favourite kind of cooking 🙂

As someone that is from the northern half of England, pies are my ultimate comfort food. Because I try to eat sensibly though, I don’t eat them as much as I could (I could easily polish of several in a week: chicken and mushroom, steak or shepherds, I’m not fussy), but after receiving some good news at the start of the week and a fairly rubbish week at work, I thought I would try out something new in the kitchen and treat myself with this (not so) little beauty.

The recipe is adapted from the one featuring in Leon’s Family & Friends cook book – I altered the quantities of some of the ingredients and bulked up the filling with lentils and extra veg so I could reduce the amount of meat used. Lentils are really good for doing this and taste lovely as well as reducing the calorific value of the meal – win win! I also added mashed swede to the topping to increase the veg count even more; sweet potatoes can also be used to do this and taste just as nice! What pies did you cook up at home this week?

Ingredients (Serves 4)

3 Large Potatoes (About 750g), peeled at cut into chunks

1 Swede

Knob of Butter (or margarine)

50g Milk

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 Celery Stick, finely chopped

1 Carrot, finely chopped with the skin on

100g Green Lentils, cooked

1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped

1 ½ tsp Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

250g Lean Minced Beef

75ml Red Wine

200ml Beef Stock (made using 1 stock cube)

1 Tsp Tomato Purée

Few Drops of Worcestershire Sauce

1 Small Mug-ful Frozen Peas (about 80g)

Slat & Pepper, to season


Firstly, sort the mash: add the potatoes and swede to a large pan and cover with cold water. Add a tea spoon of salt and bring the water to the boil. Once the waters boiling, turn the heat down to medium and cook the potatoes until soft and tender. When they’re done, drain off the water, add the milk and a knob of butter along with some salt and pepper and mash until smooth and lump-free. Set aside to cool until we need them later.

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large sauce pan on a low heat and cook the onion, carrot and celery until softened and the onion is turning golden brown. Add the lentils, garlic and parsley and cook for another 2 minutes until you can really smell the garlic cooking and everything is nice and fragrant. Remove the veg from the pan and leave to one side in a bowl.

Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn up the heat. Add the minced beef and cook until brown. When there is no pink meat remaining, add the wine and let it bubble up until reduced by half so the alcohol can cook off.

Now add the stock, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce and stir everything together before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the peas and the cooked vegetable mixture back to the pan and stir well. Cook on a low heat for around 5 minutes so the stock can reduce bait and all the flavours can come together.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F and tip the meat and vegetable mixture into your pie dish. Cover with the mashed potato and swede and score with a fork.

Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the topping is brown and crispy. Serve with broccoli, cauliflower and gravy, yummy!


Helena x


2 thoughts on “Hearty Cottage Pie

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