Monday, 1 February 2010

Cottage Pie with Sauteed Carrots

The rain battering my city ensured that I arrived home chilled and with wet feet. Cold, and wanting something to envelope my apartment with comfort, I decided on a cottage pie for dinner.

I have a basic go-to recipe, but it can be a little bland on occasion, so I went looking for a recipe that would have a bit more depth to it, but still be a traditional pie. I ended up on the channel 4 website with an old Gordon Ramsay recipe for Shepherd's Pie. Unfortunately lamb in a no-go around here, so I switched it out for beef mince and was in business!


Shepherd's pie
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 500g minced lean lamb
* 1 large onion, finely grated
* 1 large carrot, finely grated
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp tomato puree
* Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
* 1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped
* 250ml red wine
* 300ml chicken stock
* 1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
* 50g butter
* 2 egg yolks
* Parmesan, for grating
* Olive oil
* Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pan-roasted carrots
* 2 sprigs of rosemary
* Small handful of thyme sprigs
* 1 garlic clove
* 500g medium sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Few knobs of butter


As mentioned, beef mince for the lamb

I realised in the middle of cooking that I didn't have red wine (hence the paler look to my pie). I was disappointed, but couldn't really do anything about it just then, so I went without.

Switched the chicken stock for beef.

As I was having carrots for a side, I didn't want them in the pie too. I did throw in a handful of peas though.


1) Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer then beat in the egg yolks, followed by about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Check for seasoning.

My potatoes were a bit dry at this point. It may be because Ramsay's recipe called for Desiree potatoes and I have no idea what kind mine were, but if you wanted to add a little butter/cream to make it smoother I wouldn't tell anyone.

2) While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan until hot. Season the mince and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine (err... oops), and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken (or beef) stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened

3) Spoon the mince into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the mince, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown

4) While the pie is in the oven, chop the carrots and boil them in a pan of water with the garlic and herbs for 2-3 minutes to soften them a little. Drain, then pat dry. Add oil to a hot pan, season the carrots, then saute until the carrots are browned all over, adding the butter at the end.

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