Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cottage Pie - Meal of the week

I love to cook, I am by no means a master in the kitchen nor do I pretend to be but I do really enjoy cooking up good honest tasty food for my family...even in my itsy bitsy tiny kitchen with no dishwasher! It just forces me to be more organised and tidy while cooking.

I'm going to starting posting about a different meal each week which I have cooked for my family and will include the recipe for you. I would love to hear your feedback and comments on these ideas. We work on a tight budget so the majority of my meals will be budget friendly like my first meal of the week which is an oldie but a goodie - my version of a cottage pie. YUM :)

Cottage Pie


2 Sheets of Shortcrust pastry
Pie weights or 2 cups of rice
500g of beef mince (I just buy the regular mince as its usually well priced)
1 Large Onion - Chopped
2 Garlic cloves - Crushed
2 Tbsp of Beef Stock
1 Pkt of Hearty Beef Soup (or a tbsp of beef Gravox or gravy powder for extra flavour)
1 Cup of water
1 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp of Brown Vinegar strained from pickled chilli's (if you don't have this don't worry, I always have a jar of chilli's pickling in brown vinegar in the fridge and I love adding a bit of the vinegar to a lot of my meals for awesome flavour boot)
Salt and Pepper to season
3 Carrots pealed and cut into circle pieces
2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
5 med to large brushed potatoes, peeled and cut up for boiling
About 70 to 100g of butter - don't use margarine if you can as it just wont add the flavour you want. You can use one of those light Devondale butter varieties if you like as they taste OK and are a bit healthier than pure butter
About 1/3 cup of milk 
Handful of grated cheese - whatever you have

Heat your oven to about 180 Degrees Celsius, Spray your pie tray with some Canola oil or something similar then line it with your Shortcrust pastry. You will most likely need to do some cutting and pasting so to speak and join two sheets together to cover the whole tray well. Then line your pastry with some baking paper and put in either some pie weights or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rice to weight down the pastry for blind baking. Pop the pastry into the oven for about 10 -12 Min's - you want it to be lightly browned but not fully cooked, take the baking paper out and pop back in for another 3 Min's to dry out the bottom. Set aside to cool.

Saute your onions and garlic until they are lovely and caramelized, then add in your mince and brown making sure you try to break the mince up well into tiny pieces so there are no chunky bits. Once the mince is cooked through and you have nice brown colouring, add all your seasonings; beef stock, hearty beef soup powder, salt & pepper, worcestershire sauce, brown vinegar, cup of water and tomato paste. Then add in your carrots and bring to the boil for 5 Min's, then take down to a simmer, cover and leave for about 20mins to let the flavours set into the mince (remembering to stir every so often so that it doesn't stick to the pan).

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil then add your potatoes, cook until nice and soft. Then strain out the water leaving the potatoes in the pot and add in your butter, salt & pepper to taste then mash until nice and smooth. Add just enough milk to make a nice consistency, no too much as you don't want it runny.

Now bring it all together, pour your meat sauce into the pie base then add the lovely mash potato on top spooning carefully until you have covered the whole top. Then gently smooth it altogether so there are no holes or gaps. Sprinkle a handful of cheese on top and pop in the oven for about 20 -25mins until the cheese is nice and golden. Let it rest for about 5mins before serving.


Brenda :)

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