Beef and onion cottage pie

servings4
1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cottage pie mix

  • 800g of lean beef mince
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 leek
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 dashes of vegetable oil
  • 2 star anise
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 500ml of beef stock

Mashed potato topping

  • 4 King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 100ml of skimmed milk
  • 50g of butter
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • 2 pinches of black pepper

Method

1
To prepare the vegetables, peel and roughly dice 2 of the carrots and peel and thinly slice the remaining. These will be used at separate times in the recipe
2
Wash and dice the leek and bruise the garlic cloves. Pick the leaves from 1 sprig of thyme and leave the other sprig whole
3
Place a pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan and leave to caramelise for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes
4
Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a high heat and add a dash of vegetable oil. Add the carrot slices (reserving the diced carrot) to the pan. Season with salt and add the star anise
5
Cook for 2 minutes, then turn down the heat and continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the carrots just start to soften, remove and set aside
6
For the mash, place the potato chunks in a saucepan of cold salted water, cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes until tender
7
In a separate saucepan, bring the milk and butter just to the boil
8
Drain the potatoes in a colander, then stand the colander over the saucepan for 2-3 minutes - so the potatoes steam in their own heat
9
Mash the potatoes with a masher then fold in the hot milk and butter and beat well. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper
10
Spoon the mash into a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle (if you have one) and set aside at room temperature until required
11
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
12
Add a splash of vegetable oil to a very large heavy-based casserole dish and place over a medium-high heat until very hot
13
Lightly season the mince with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook until lightly coloured all over, This will take 5-10 minutes, as the mince will release moisture first and brown afterwards
14
Then add the diced carrots, leeks, peppercorns, garlic and sprig of thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, add to the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Fold in the soft carrot slices and caramelised onions. Remove from the heat
15
Divide the mixture between 4 individual cast iron or earthenware dishes. Pipe or spoon the mash on top as decoratively as you like. The pie can also be done in 1 large family-style dish
16
Place the dishes in the oven and cook for 12 minutes or until the mash is golden. Serve immediately