Beef short rib and onion cottage pie


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For the filling

For the mash

With a large knife, cut through the meat that lies between each rib bone so that you have 8 pieces in total. Alternatively, ask your butcher to do this for you
Roughly dice the leeks and 2 of the carrots and set aside. Cut the head of garlic horizontally in half and pick the leaves from half the thyme, leaving the rest as whole sprigs
Add a drizzle of vegetable oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for up to 20 minutes until they are nicely caramelised, then remove from the heat
Thinly slice the 4 remaining carrots, and place them into a separate saucepan over a high heat with a splash of vegetable oil. Season with salt, and add the star anise to the pan
Cook over the high heat for 2 minutes, then turn down to a medium heat and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the carrots just start to soften
For the mash, peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place the chunks in a saucepan of cold salted water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently boil for approximately 20 minutes until tender
In a separate saucepan, bring the milk and butter just to the boil
  • 100ml of milk
  • 50g of butter
Drain the potatoes in a colander, then stand the colander over the saucepan for a few minutes so the potatoes steam in their own heat. Then, mash the potatoes with a masher, or put through a potato ricer or Mouli, then fold in the hot milk and butter and beat well. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Scoop the mash into a piping bag and set aside at room temperature until ready to use
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Add a dash of vegetable oil into a large ovenproof casserole dish and place over a medium to high heat until very hot. Lightly season the ribs with salt and pepper, place in the pan and colour lightly on all sides. Remove and set aside on a wire rack placed over a tray to catch any juices
  • vegetable oil
Place the empty pan back on the heat and add the roughly chopped vegetables, the peppercorns, garlic halves and thyme sprigs. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden
Pour the port and wine into the pan and allow to reduce by 3/4's. Return the ribs to the pan with any juices that have gathered in the resting tray, cover with the stock and bring to a simmer
Skim off any impurities that float to the top, then cover the surface of the liquid with a ‘lid’ of parchment paper and place the pan in the oven. Cook for just under 3 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones
Remove the pan from the oven and leave to cool, then take the meat out and set aside. Pass the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pan and reduce by half, skimming off any impurities during the process
Remove the meat from the bones, discarding any sinew, and shred the meat into long strips with your fingers. Combine the reduced cooking liquid with the shredded meat, caramelised onions, carrots (without the star anise) and thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
Divide the mixture equally between 4 individual cast iron or earthenware dishes and place a piece of bone marrow in the middle. Pipe the mash around the bones (or use a spoon if you don’t have a piping bag) and fill the bones with sprigs of rosemary
Place the dishes in the oven and cook for 12 minutes or until the mash is golden. Serve hot, and set alight the rosemary
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