How to Cook Cottage Pie
Cottage Pie Just Out of the Oven
Cottage Pie, sometimes called Shepherds Pie, is a Family Favorite in my Home
Cottage pie is a traditional English dish, made with minced beef, topped with mashed potato which has been browned and crisped in the oven. My mother taught me how to cook cottage pie, and I have been making it for over fifty years, improving on it as time goes by. This is the best cottage pie you will ever taste, and, once you have tried my recipe, I know you'll agree.
Some people call this Cottage Pie "Shepherd's Pie", but what does it matter as long as it tastes good? And it does!
Cottage Pie is Easy to Eat Because it has Everything in the Same Dish
Children love it because it is soft and tasty; elderly people love cottage pie because it'is soft and easy to eat if they have difficulty chewing anything tough; and everyone in between loves it because it's delicious.
Cottage Pie is Also Fairly Easy to Make, Very Cheap and Nutritious
My detailed instructions and explanations for this Cottage Pie Recipe will help beginners to give it a try
Most of the seasoning mentioned below is optional, and if you prefer your cottage pie to have a bland flavor, with fewer of the highly-flavored ingredients, or if you simply haven't got some of the ingredients to hand, you can still make a good cottage pie as long as you have the main ingredients, namely minced beef, onion, tomato and potato.
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Equipment for making Cottage Pie
The main utensil is a large saucepan and an oven-proof baking dish
- Medium-sized Saucepan
- Oven-Proof Baking Dish
- Wooden spoon for mixing
- Blender or mincer if the meat is not already minced
- Potato Peeler
- Potato Masher (you can use a fork if you haven't got a masher)
A Suitable Pie Dish for Cottage Pie - You can Take it Straight From Oven to Table
This is similar to the Pyrex oven-proof baking dish that I myself use to make cottage pie.
It is just big enough for three portions, and you can buy a bigger one if you prefer. Features:
- Leak proof and air tight seal for secure storage.
- Vents for microwaving
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
Ingredients Needed for Cottage Pie Recipe - to Serve Three People - You wll need to vary the quantities if you want to feed more people
Assemble the Cottage Pie Ingredients before you start:
- 13 oz. (350 g) Minced beef, preferably best beef mince, which is lower in fat
- 3 medium sized Potatoes
- 1 medium sized Onion
- 1 tin of Chopped tomatoes
- 4 Cabbage leaves
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil, or other cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons of Milk
- 1 large blob of Butter
- 2 tablespoons of Sage and Onion stuffing
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 1 teaspoon of Mixed herbs
- 1 Clove
- 1 Bay leaf (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- A few drops Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Bisto or other gravy thickener
- Salt, to taste
NB: Precise amounts are not particularly important for this recipe, so you can add more or less or vary the ingredients,
Method for Making Cottage Pie
Your Cottage Pie Dinner Will be ready in 50 Minutes
Method for making Cottage Pie:
1. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a saucepan on a low heat until golden brown. Add the minced meat, breaking it up and squashing it with the wooden spoon. Continue to turn the meat and squash it down, so that it cooks and browns evenly. (If the meat is not broken up and squashed, it will form into lumps).
2. Add the garlic, and all the spice and herbs, stirring them in to spread them through the meat. Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and a little Worcestershire Sauce, stir well, and simmer on a low heat for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan. If the meat starts to dry out, add a little water.
3. Whilst the meat cooks, peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces, cover them with water in a saucepan and boil for about 15 minutes until soft, adding a small amount of salt if desired. Drain off most of the water, leaving about 1 tablespoon of of the water in the saucepan with the potatoes. Add the milk, and then mash the potatoes into the liquid, ending up with a fairly soft consistency.
4. Wash the cabbage and boil for 5 - 10 minutes. You can cook them in with the potatoes, and then fish them out and save separately before you mash the potatoes. This will save dirtying another saucepanpan. Do not cook the cabbage for long, as it will cook further in the Cottage pie.
5. Add the Bisto or other gravy thickening to the minced meat and stir until the gravy has thickened. Then spoon the meat mixture into a medium-sized oven-proof dish.
6. Sprinkle the sage and onion stuffing mixture evenly over the meat. Then cover the meat evenly with the cabbage. This will stop the gravy seeping into the mashed potatoes.
7. Spread the mashed potato evenly on top of the cabbage, using a fork to make a light pattern in the potato, and then put some small blobs of butter on the top. The butter will melt whilst cooking and spread into the ridges formed by the fork.
8. Cook the cottage pie on the top shelf in a medium hot oven until golden brown for about 30 minutes, depending on the oven and heat. Check whether it is done - it should be golden brown and slightly burnt . If necessary, cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes.
Some Minor Points about Cottage Pie:
A little advice from one who knows!
1. If your family say they don't like vegetables, Cottage Pie is an ideal meal for disguising secretly added vegetables - for instance you can add a grated carrot, greens or finely chopped celery to the minced meat, and nobody would notice the difference. Just don't tell them what's gone into your Cottage Pie.
2. For health reasons, I would suggest that you use as little salt as possible, and that you use olive oil for frying, as it consists of polyunsaturated fat, and is therefore healthier than most other cooking oils. You could even use a little olive oil on top of the potato instead of butter, if you are really health-conscious, but I must say that butter does give the mashed potato topping a better flavor.
How do You Like to Buy Your Minced Meat? - Take this Poll about minced meat and see how many people share your views
Many people like to buy their beef in a whole piece, and then mince it themselves, so that they know what's going into it, whilst others are happy to buy the meat already minced.
Currently there is a scandal in the UK about Polish suppliers adding horse meat to minced meat used for commercial beefburgers without the customers' knowledge, and it has led to the withdrawal of millions of beefburgers in many well-known shops. So how do you like to buy your meat?
Do you mince your own meat?
Here's a Foodie Shopping Bag - You Can Get this Egglantine the Eggcentric Egg Design on a Shopping Tote on Zazzle:
Links to more of my recipes
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- Beefburgers - Quick and Easy Recipe
Beefburgers - A nice meal for a summer's evening - quick to make, cook them indoors or on a barbeque
- Butternut Squash Soup - Quick and Easy Recipe
This Butternut Squash Soup recipe is healthy, and very quick and easy to prepare, so it is suitable for beginners. As it is really a butternut squash puree soup, you will need a food processor, blender or juicer to make it properly.