This is a classic British winter dish, it’s so satisfying and pretty simple to make. A lot of Brits, including myself tend to make the mistake of calling this a Shepherd’s pie, which is the same dish but made with minced lamb instead of beef. In this version I used a combination of sweet potato and normal potato to make the mash, it was a nice addition and made this vibrant orange colour. I have added a few extra spices that you might not choose to use, I’d recommend tasting it throughout cooking and adding any ingredients that you think it is lacking.
2tbsp vegetable oil
500g minced beef
1 medium white onion
1 clove garlic
2 rashers bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
1 cup peas
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 pint beef stock
1/2 tsp marmite
1 bay leaf
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika
A few dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper, to season
3 medium potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
A splash of milk
Salt and pepper to season
2 handfuls mature cheddar, grated
1. Peel and finely chop the onion, carrot and garlic. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan, add the chopped ingredients and soften.
2. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes then add the minced beef and allow to brown. This is a good point to drain off any excess fat.
3. Stir in the tomato puree and marmite and add the herbs and spices.
4. Meanwhile make up the beef stock (I used an OXO cube, I think it gives the richest flavour). Gradually add the stock, you don’t have to add it all now, you can allow to simmer and if it gets dry add more stock.
5. Leave the mixture to cook for at least 45 minutes. Add the peas near the end of cooking.
6.Peel and chop all of the potatoes and add to a large pan of boiling salted water. Boil for about 20 minutes or until soft.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 5.
8. Drain the potatoes and mash in the pan with the butter, milk, salt and pepper.
9. Place the mixture in a shallow ovenproof dish.
You can pour gravy over the cottage pie before serving if you wish.