Monday, 13 August 2012

Healthier Cottage Pie

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for healthier shepherds pie, which can be found here. 

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
450 g (1 lb) minced beef and pork
1 large onion, finely chopped 
1 1/2 carrots, finely chopped 

1 leek, thinly sliced 
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
360 ml (12 fl oz) beef or vegetable stock, preferably home-made 
100 g (3½ oz) split red lentils 
3 tbsp chopped parsley  (or 1 tbsp dried chopped parsley)

Potato and parsnip topping 
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 
1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks 
75 ml (2½ fl oz) semi-skimmed milk 
25 g (scant 1 oz) butter 
salt and pepper 
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the mince and cook over a high heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
2. Add the carrots, pepper and leek and stir well, then add the Worcestershire sauce, stock and lentils. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Partially cover with a lid, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. While the meat mixture is cooking, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) and prepare the topping. Place the potato and cauliflower chunks in a saucepan and pour over boiling water to cover by 5 cm (2 in). Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes and cauliflower are very tender. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until hot.
4. Drain the potatoes and cauliflower well, and return them to the pan. Pour the hot milk over them, then mash them until they are completely smooth. Beat in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Remove the meat mixture from the heat, add the chopped parsley and seasoning to taste and stir well. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish, about 2.6 litre (4½ pint) capacity. Top with the mashed vegetables, spreading in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned.

This turned out quite well and made 6 servings for us. Enough for three meals essentially. I would have added sliced mushrooms if we would have had any and then I would have used half of the meat. When cooked, most mushrooms have a texture similar to cooked mince. Jethro and I both really liked the potato and cauliflower mash, but it did make enough to have leftovers, even after topping the pie! This recipe is definitely a keeper here, although next time I will probably sprinkle some shredded cheese over the pie right before placing it into the oven for an extra little flavour kick.

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