About this recipe:This classic favourite makes a comforting meal, especially on a cold day. Lean minced beef is a healthy filling that takes minutes to cook, and the topping is quickly browned under the grill. Serve with peas or seasonal greens. Delicious!
500g lean minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
350ml hot beef stock, made with a stock cube
1 tbsp plain flour
900g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
100ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed
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Method Prep:5min › Cook:25min › Ready in:30min
Fry the meat and vegetables: Heat a large, heavy-based pan until hot, then add the minced beef and vegetables, and fry, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Meanwhile, stir the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs into the stock. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and vegetables.
Add the stock: Stir the flavoured stock into the mince. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
Cook the potatoes: While the mince is cooking, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes, then mash with the warmed milk and the butter. Season. Preheat the grill to medium.
Brown the topping: Spoon the mince mixture into a large, warm ovenproof dish. Spread the mashed potato over the top and fluff up with a fork. Put under the grill to brown lightly and crisp the top.
For a vegetable mash, replace some of the potatoes with swede, carrots or parsnips, or add some chopped spring onions or lightly cooked sliced leeks to the mashed potato.
If you prefer, you can bake the cottage pie at 200°C (180°C fan oven), gas 6, for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden.
You can prepare the whole pie ahead (or just the mince). Cool, then keep chilled in the fridge. Cover with foil and reheat thoroughly in the oven at 190°C (170°C fan oven), gas 5 for 45 minutes, uncovering for the last 10-15 minutes to brown the top. *Make up a triple batch of the mince mixture and use one third for the pie. Quickly cool and freeze the remainder, divided into two freezerproof containers. To use, thaw a batch in the fridge overnight, then use it to make another meal, such as Beefy Stuffed Tomatoes (above). Or add a few drops of Tabasco sauce and 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or coriander to the mixture to make a quick version of the Spicy Mince Baps (on this website).