Cottage Pie



2 tbsp sunflower / vegetable / rapeseed oil 
1 large onion, finely chopped 2 carrots finely chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped 
800g beef mince 
300g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped 
4 tbsp tomato purée
5 tbsp beef gravy granules
2 tbsp Worcester sauce 
800ml boiling water 
1 beef stock cube
Few sprigs thyme 
Pinch of salt and pepper 


1.5kg Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes (weigh them AFTER you have peeled them), cut into small 5cm chunks 
50g butter 
80ml milk 
Salt and pepper to taste. 


In a measuring jug, add the gravy granules and crumbled stock cube and top up with 800ml boiling water, stirring constantly until fully dissolved. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire Sauce and leave to one side.

In a separate pan on a medium heat, add the oil and heat up, then add the carrots, onions and celery (I used a food processor to chop up all the vegetables in this recipe but you don’t have to) and soften for 6-7 mins before adding the mince. 

Add the mushrooms, stir for a few more mins before adding the stock and gravy mixture, strip the thyme of its leaves and add the leaves to the pan, bring up to a high simmer, season with a little salt and pepper to taste (taste before adding salt) turn the heat right down and simmer on a low heat for 25-30 mins. 

Take off heat, and pour into your baking dish and wait to cool down. I use a deep baking dish 20cm (w) x 26cm (l).

While the cottage pie filling is cooling down, place the potatoes in a large pan of water, with a good pinch of salt, on a medium-high heat and bring up to the boil. 

Preheat oven to 180C(fan)/200c. 

Boil the potatoes for 20 mins, after which they should be soft, drain them fully of any water in a colander, then mash the potatoes, twice, through a sieve (trust me here, the creamiest mash ever). 

The potatoes should still be a little hot once mashed, so stir through the butter until it melts, then the milk, check the seasoning (add a little more salt if necessary, and a pinch of coarse black pepper) then once cooled, top the cooled cottage pie filling with the mashed potato. 

As you spread the mash, flick up the spoon a little for a textured finish which will crisp up when cooking. 

Place on a tray on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 mins until golden and crisp. Allow to cool a little before serving. We love ours with fresh green veg and Yorkshire puddings. And a little extra gravy for pouring, of course.

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