Individual Cottage Pies

Cottage pie really typifies traditional British comfort food for me.  It is something that my mum often made when we were growing up, and to be honest, when I was younger I always thought of it as a pretty boring meal.  Now living abroad I sometimes crave a little piece of home, and at those times I often end up returning to the recipes of my childhood with a new found appreciation.

I love making these little individual Cottage Pies because as well as being delicious, they are also great for Little Whisk.  I work full time so I try to prepare as many meals as possible over the weekends so that it makes life that bit easier during the week.  Dishes like these Cottage Pies are ideal because they can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge, or frozen until needed.  They are also a complete meal, with no need to prepare additional vegetables or other accompaniments.  

As I have mentioned before I like to cook from scratch as much as possible and very rarely use shop bought sauces etc. This recipe is a rare exception, for ease (and because it's what my mum does!) I do include some Bisto in this recipe.  If you do not want to use Bisto then you can replace it with some beef stock, and if making for young children I would suggest using low sodium beef stock.  When making for young children I also do not add any salt to the recipe. 

RECIPE

Ingredients

Filling:

2 Tbsps vegetable oil

500g Lean beef mince

1 onion diced

2 Carrots peeled and diced

250g Frozen peas

3 Heaped tsp of Bisto

250mls Water

Topping:

700g Potatoes peeled

1 Medium Cauliflower

A knob of butter

55ml Milk

Method

Preheat the over to 190 degrees centigrade.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and brown the mince.  Add the onion and fry until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the carrot, the Bisto and the water.  Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer, cover and continue to simmer for 20 minutes until the carrot is cooked.  If it becomes too dry add more water as necessary.  You want it to have a gravy but not to be too runny.  Add the frozen peas and continue simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and add seasoning as desired.  Remove from the heat and put to one side.

For the topping, boil the potatoes and cauliflower until cooked, and soft enough to mash.  Drain and mash together with the butter and milk.  Season to taste.  

Spoon the filling into one large or several small ovenproof dishes.  Top with the potato and cauliflower mixture and prick the top with a fork to create a rough surface.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the potato topping is golden brown.

It is a bit of a guilty pleasure but I like to serve it with a dollop of HP sauce on the side!