Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Friday, 28 October 2011

Cottage pie - with a twist!

Not that there is anything wrong with an ordinary of course but when I ran across this wonderful James Martin recipe several years ago it was begging to be tried. I had only discovered horseradish back then; it was never something i had encountered in my cooking (which at that time was limited) or eating (not limited but....) though my partner than and now used to have a massive dollop of it with his roast beef and I knew he liked it, so whilst I was still at the stage of the relationship where I still felt the need to impress (!) I decided this was the recipe with which I would ring the changes.

A note about mash: A very personal thing if you ask me. It's not about silky 'pommes puree' it's about the mash I had as a kid which is thick not 'loose', mimics the shape of cumulus clouds on the plate and is made with full fat milk or cream and a dollop of butter. Mash is unashamedly comfort food. Pipe it on if you like to make it look pretty, but it's all about it's untidiness for me. Dollop it on the top and press it down with the tines of a fork or a pallet knife. And no matter how I try, there is nothing as good as my mum's mash. It obviously has an added extra ingredient that I will never be able to find.

And horseradish: Add to taste. Over the years I have come to prefer a more spiky flavoured mash for this, so you need to add a little and taste, and then adjust as necessary.

Comforting Cottage Pie (adapted from James Martin's fabulous recipe!) Serves 4 hungry people.
Preparation and cooking times

Prep 30 mins
Cook 1-2 hours

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
560g/1¼ lb beef mince
400g/14oz can tomatoes
290ml/10fl oz beef stock
1 bay leaf
fresh thyme leaves from 1 sprig (or a tsp of dried)
2 tbsp tomato puree
salt and freshly ground black pepper
some finely chopped parsley (optional - I like parsley!)
For the topping

750g/1½ lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
225g/8oz parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 tsp creamed horseradish
75g/2½oz butter
55ml/2fl oz milk

Or however you like to make your mash. I aim for parsnips to make up a third of the total of 'mash' and then add the horseradish to taste. Don't forget to season.
Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.

Add the minced beef and cook for 3 minutes to brown.

Add the tomatoes, purée, beef stock, bay leaf and thyme.

Cover and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or so depending on how you like your mince. I like mine not dry, but with some 'wetness'. It's important that the mince mixture does reduce so it is robust enough to hold the mince that you are going to dollop onto it later.  Season. It is important that you check at this stage for taste. You are looking for something quite tasty to compete with the mash.

Meanwhile, to make the topping, boil the potatoes and parsnips in water until soft. Drain and mash with the butter and milk. Stir in the horseradish and season with salt and pepper. Once again, very important to taste at this stage.

Spoon the meat into an ovenproof dish. Top with the mash, dot with some butter and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

And what's more, if you have any left over bung it in the fridge and then reheat for another meal. If it's at all possible it tastes even better second time around! The joy of leftovers!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to drop by!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...