This is a great two-night meal. I’ve adapted the recipe from the Hairy Dieters which includes putting the sweet potato on top to make it slightly less carby.
It does take quite a lot of time, but after the up front prep, a lot of it is cooking time.
The recipe serves 6.
500g lean minced beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 medium carrots, diced (you can swap in any other veg you have around that you want to use – we added courgette)
2 tbsp tomato puree
500 ml beef stock
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried herbs
4 tsp cornflour
850g sweet potatoes
1) Prepare the first 4 ingredients before you do anything else, otherwise you’ll be rushing about later. Then put a large casserole dish on a medium heat, and add the mince (you won’t need any oil), and cook it with the onion, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured.
2) Add the next 5 ingredients: passata, puree, stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes, stiring occasionally, until the meat is tender.
3) About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping: peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks (about quarters). You can either boil them, or microwave them the Jamie Oliver way (which I always do): put in a glass bowl with a couple of slices of lime, double cover with cling film, and microwave on high for 12 minutes. When they come out, they’ll be ready to mash. If you prefer to add butter or milk in when mashing, go ahead, but I don’t think it needs it.
At this stage also preheat the over to Gas Mark 7 / 220C.
4) When you think the beef has been simmering for long enough, mix the 4 tsp cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir into the beef sauce to thicken it, and cook for another couple of minutes, storring often, until the sauce is the right consistency.
5) Pour into a 2 litre, shallow ovenproof dish, then top with the mashed potato. Trail the mashed potato with a fork for a proper ‘cottage pie’ dish. Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling and then it’s dinner time!! Serve with seasonal green sides – a salad or peas or beans as you like.
At this point (or after you’ve had your portion) you can freeze or refrigerate some for another tasty dinner another day! You can then reheat from chilled in a preheated ove at 210C/Gas Mark 6.5 for 40 – 50 minutes (or we tend to just microwave) until the pie is piping hot.