Friday, February 13, 2009

Gastronomic Delights 2: Cottage Pie

There's only so much slouching around you can do under circumstances like mine, and I know my Mum wouldn't have had it any other way, so I bring you the fruits of my labours a couple of days ago. The second installment in my food-themed mix series. This is in memory of my Mother, who made the best cottage pie ever.

Cheese Crusted Cottage Pie
Recipe details

Serves: 4
Preparation time:

35 minutes
Cooking time:

30 minutes

For the pie filling

* 1 Beef cube
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 500 g family pack ‘extra lean’ minced beef
* 75 g swede, cut into small cubes
* 1 large carrot, chopped
* 1 stick celery, thinly sliced
* 1 tbsp plain flour
* 1 tbsp tomato purée
* 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
* 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
* Freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

* 1 Vegetable OXO cube
* 4 large potatoes (approx. 900g) cubed
* 75 g butter
* 50 g mature cheddar cheese, grated
* 2-3 tbsp fresh coarse white breadcrumbs

To make the Cottage Pie

1. Fry the minced beef together with the onions in a saucepan until the mince becomes crumbly and turns a rich brown colour and the onions have softened.
2. Add the swede, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for a further minute or two.
3. Crumble in 1 Beef OXO cube, sprinkle in the flour, and add the tomato purée and herbs. Mix well then blend in 250ml hot water. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
4. Partially cover the saucepan and simmer over a very low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The stock will reduce to just the right rich consistency.
5. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan, add the butter and mash until smooth.
6. Pour the mince into a deep 20cm (8 inch) baking dish and spread the mashed potato evenly all over.
7. Mix together the cheese, 1 crumbled Vegetable OXO cube and the breadcrumbs. Scatter over the potato and bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for about 25 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden brown.

If you prefer a Shepherds Pie

1. Replace the onions with 2 sliced leeks, adding at the same time as the vegetables.
2. Omit the water and add a large can of chopped tomatoes.
3. Use minced lamb instead of the beef and replace the Beef OXO cube with a Lamb OXO cube.
4. For a more meaty Shepherd’s Pie, omit the canned chopped tomato and replace with an extra Lamb OXO cube and a total of 300ml (1/2 pt) hot water.

Serving suggestion

Serve with a crisp, fruity white such as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, where hints of asparagus flavours can even be found in the taste of the wine.
Cook's tip

Crumble a Vegetable OXO cube into grated cheese or breadcrumb mixes for a really tasty topping to potato pies, gratins and pasta dishes. For a special potato topping (and a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!), mix in some lightly cooked shredded Savoy cabbage or sliced leeks into the mashed potato. If you are preparing the Shepherd’s Pie ahead, chill until required. But remember to either bring the Shepherd’s Pie back to room temperature or add on another 10 minutes cooking time to ensure it is piping hot.

Gastronomic Delights 2: Cottage Pie

Variance (Function Edit) - N/A (Sandwell District)
Track 1 - Even Tuell (Workshop)
Woman Is The Devil - Levon Vincent (Deconstruct)
Hupsers & Klepsers For Life (Steffi remix) - San Proper & Steven de Peven (Studio Soulrock)
Mutation (Sis remix) - Butane (Crosstown Rebels)
Strobo Revenge (Portable/Bodycode remix) - Hugo (Claque Music)
Keep On Groovin' (Mark Henning remix) - Matt Star (Hypercolour)
13 Cookies - Tomm Clarke & Daniel Dreier (Highgrade)
Shing A Ling - Nima Gorji (Murmur)
Inversion 6 (Donato Dozzy remix) - Mike Parker (Geophone)
Hold It - Peace Division (8 - Bit)
Makes No Sense 9Radio Slave's Shaking The Tree mix) - Mr G (Rekids)
A2 - Hauntologists (Hauntologists)
A - Equalized 002 (Equalized)
City Lights (Brian Cage's Lights Out remix) - Luke Hess (Modelisme)

Download this rustic marvel here.

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