Cottage Pie

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Ingredients:

Minced Meat Filling

  • 1kg Lean Ground Beef
  • 500ml Chicken Stock
  • 3 Carrots (trimmed, peeled and finely diced)
  • 3 Parsnips (trimmed, peeled, diced and blanched)
  • 2 Onions (trimmed, peeled and finely diced)
  • 400g Portabello Mushrooms (cleaned, trimmed and finely diced)
  • 250ml Dry Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 50ml Worcestershire Sauce
  • 25ml Soy Sauce
  • 150ml Tomato Paste
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 3 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 2 Cloves

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 600g Yukon Gold Potatoes (washed, peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 150g Butter
  • 100ml Half and Half
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 50g Parmigiano Reggiano (finely grated)

  • 1 Bay Leaf

Instructions

Minced Meat Filling

  1. In a large wide surface pot with a lid, cook under high heat until piping hot. Add 3tbsp olive oil and add your ground beef in batches and cook until the water content has released, evaporated and the mince is well coloured.
  2. When all your ground beef is cooked through, reduce your heat to medium high and add your tomato paste, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.  Cook while constantly stirring until all your vegetables are sweated down and softened.
  3. Turn your heat up to high and add your red wine and Worcestershire Sauce and cook until the liquid has reduced and turned into a syrup consistency.
  4. Add your chicken stock, soy sauce, thyme, bay leaves, star anise and cloves and cook under high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat down to low and simmer gently for 1.5-2hrs.  While cooking, occasionally stir the mixture to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
  5. When your mixture is finished cooking, remove the bay leaves, star anise and cloves.

Mashed Potato Topping

  1. Fill a large pot with water, add a generous amount of sea salt and heat under high heat until rapidly boiling.
  2. Add your potatoes into your pot with boiling water and cook until soft.  Pass your cooked potatoes through a colander and allow the excess water to drain and steam to evaporate.
  3. While still warm, pass your potatoes through a potato ricer.
  4. Place your half and half and bay leaf into a pan and cook under medium low heat until it comes to a simmer.  Turn off the heat and allow the bay leaf to steep and infuse in the half and half for 20mins before removing.
  5. Add your butter, half and half, Parmigiano Reggiano and egg yolks to your potatoes.  Stir thoroughly until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside and reserve.

Assembly

  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
  2. Stir in your blanched parsnips into your meat filling.  Pour your filling into a shallow oven proof dish or roasting pan.
  3. Place your mashed potatoes on top of your filling and spread it evenly across the surface with a spoon.
  4. Place your cottage pie into the oven and bake for 30-45mins until the surface is golden brown.
  5. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30mins before serving.

Notes

  • This recipe makes for a very large Cottage Pie, and should be enough to feed 8-10 people.  If this is a little too much for you, that’s fine.  I would make the full recipe for the mince meat filling but scale back the mashed potato topping.  The mince meat filling can be frozen and reheated without any issues.
  • This is a ideal meal during the Fall and Winter, when you want something warm, delicious and cozy to fill you up!
  • For the ground beef, don’t try substituting lean with extra lean as there isn’t enough fat content within the mince to help keep it moist.  If you do, the end result will come out a bit dry and chalky.
  • If you happen to have a good butcher who’s willing to mince a specific cut of beef for you, a good cut would be either brisket, chuck, short rib or shank.  Though with shank, it might come out a little too lean, so ask your butcher to add some beef fat trimmings to mix to increase the fat content.
  • If possible, try to make your minced meat filling the day before.  It’ll allow the flavours to come together and mature, making your cottage pie even more delicious!
  • For the mince meat filling, the ideal consistency is not too wet and not too dry.  You want it to be saucy and able to hold it’s shape.  If it comes out a little too dry, you can just add a splash of water.  Or if it seems a little too wet, just cook it a little longer so that the water content reduces.
  • If you’re not too proficient with a knife, you can grate both your onions and carrots with a box grater instead of using a knife.
  • When you’re blanching your parsnips, you can just use the same pot and water used to cook the potatoes.
  • You can substitute the parsnips with another root vegetable like turnips, rutabaga, etc or entirely omit them altogether.  Some people also add peas to their filling but I tend to serve peas on the side so I don’t bother.
  • For the mashed potatoes, you can just use a regular potato masher instead of a ricer if you don’t own one.  However, your mashed potatoes won’t come out as fine with a regular masher versus a ricer. 

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