There are definitely times when the only thing that will make things better is a healthy (or not so healthy) dollop of home cooked comfort food! Calling cottage pie to the rescue. This is definitely up there in our family comfort food top 5.
Delicious savoury minced (ground) beef with fluffy buttery mash and a crunchy crisp top. It is the daddy of comfort food. Perfect for a cold autumn or winters day – but to be honest, we can choke this down even when its 30 degrees outside.
We are just back from a holiday in Boston – where we have indulged far too heavily in burgers, fries, and all other manner of unhealthy items. Not quite ready to reach for the salad bowl, tonights dinner is just what we need to welcome us back to Blighty.
To serve 4 greedy people (our family)
500g minced (ground) beef. I use the wait rose 10% fat mince. It doesn’t require any skimming of fat, but isn’t as dry as the 5%
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 large onion – chopped finely
1 large carrot – peeled and chopped finely
1 small leek – chopped finely
1 cellery stalk (optional)
a handful of flour to thicken
1 pint of stock
4 large floury potatoes
a large knob of butter
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
salt and pepper.
Soften the onion, carrots leek and celery in a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
Brown the mince with the vegetables, before adding a handful of flour, the mustard and seasoning. Mix in, and when fully mixed, add 1 litre of beef stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes until the meat is fully cooked, and the vegetables are soft. The veg will absorb the flavours of the meat and stock.
While the beef is simmering, peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Either steam, or boil in water until completely soft. Drain, and allow to cool slightly before mashing with a potato ricer or masher. While still warm, add a large knob of butter and season well. Don’t add any milk or cream, as this makes the potato too watery when cooked.
Put the meat and vegetable mixture in the bottom of a shallow oven proof dish.
Add the mashed potato to the mince, and do whatever fancy or not fancy pattern you want. I like a nice rustic top – the more ridges/rougher the more crunchy topping you will get.
Browned under the grill to crunch up the top.
This is perfect with a side salad, green vegetables….or when we really want to amp up the comfort level. Baked Beans.