Cottage Pie is the ultimate in comfort food. The piping hot creamy mashed potato on top of the delicious meat sauce is a dream come true. This version is my mum’s long-time recipe and it uses minced lamb which tastes divine. The Cottage Pie is jam packed with vegetables (which you can’t really “see”) so I love giving this to my children.
The best thing about this dish is that you can make it the day before if you are serving to visitors (which I often do – it’s seriously that good!). PLUS, it makes for a terrific standby meal as you can freeze the assembled dish, then defrost it and bake it on those days when you are short on time.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 500g (16 oz) minced lamb
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped into even sized, small chunks
- 1 cup (145 g) frozen peas plus 1 tsp sugar
- 1 heaped tablespoon traditional gravy mix
- 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. each of tomato sauce, barbecue sauce and worcestershire sauce
- 1 can crushed tomatoes OR equivalent volume of tomato passata
- 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 kg (35 oz) potatoes for mashing (or about 1med/large potato) per individual serve
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) cream
- 50 g (2 oz) butter, chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan then fry the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Add the lamb and stir well to brown all over. If there is too much liquid after frying the lamb you can drain a little off but DON’T take it all off – this is what gives great flavor to the dish and the lamb will be very dry otherwise.
- Meanwhile, as the lamb is frying, put the carrots in some water in a bowl in the microwave and cook for about 4-6 minutes until the carrot is “al dente”, (about 3/4 cooked through) then drain, also put boiling water over the peas with the sugar and leave to stand while the carrots are in the microwave. Drain peas and carrots.
- Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture and stir for a minute or so. Add all other ingredients and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced slightly. The mixture should not be runny. If it is too runny, add more gravy mix gradually.
- Divide the mixture between 8 individual ceramic baking dishes of about one cup capacity but leave about 2 cm from the top of the dish for the potato topping. (Fill to about the three quarter level depending on the size of the individual dishes)
- Place on tray in the fridge for the mixture to chill.
- For the potato topping, peel and chop the potatoes into about 4 pieces but make sure the chunks are even size. Cook in boiling salted water for about 15 to 20 minutes or until ready to mash, drain properly.
- Heat the cream in the microwave until quite warm. Mash the potatoes with the butter and salt and pepper to taste and gradually add the warmed cream until the mixture is nice and mashed but not too sloppy.
- Divide potato on top of the ramekins making sure that the meat mixture is completely covered. Fluff up the top of the potato with a fork and bake in a moderate oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until the tops are golden.
- This is a complete meal in one for the family however if you are serving it for dinner guests, serve it with a side such as this Asparagus & Cherry Tomatoes dish which look terrific together on the plate and it adds another texture to the dish. You could also serve it with a big bowl of Easy Green Side Salad to share.
- You can add chives and/or parsley to the potato mash.
- It is important to have the meat mix cold before adding the mashed potato.
- You can also freeze the assembled and unbaked dish. Freeze the dishes before you cover them as you’ll mess up the topping if you cover them too early. You could also freeze them without the mash, makes no difference.
- If you are serving it for a dinner party, make the entire dish the day before and store them in the fridge until needed but take out an hour before you need to put them in the oven so the dishes don’t crack.
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