Most folks have a favoured plate filling winter warmer and for me that dish is the humble British family staple – The Cottage Pie.
My own dear Mum used to make her delicious Cottage Pie in the traditional way – well seasoned minced beef and onion topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and then spread with ample grated cheddar cheese all baked in the AGA until golden and bubbling….
So what on earth is a Terracotta Topped Cottage Pie? I hear you ask!
Well in a vain effort to put a more varied selection of vegetables into my families diet I’ve found I can cleverly
hide include up to 6 different sorts of veg into my own version of this classic family meal. I achieve this by exchanging potatoes for other seasonal root veggies like carrot, butternut squash, turnip and so on…
And of course I call it ‘terracotta topped’ because the vivid orangey colour of the mashed veg looking just like terracotta tiles sitting-a- top of a little cottage roof!
Another bonus ~ Jane’s Terracotta Topped Cottage Pie is both a plate and tummy filling budget conscious family meal
Jane’s Terracotta Topped Cottage Pie
You will need –
Oven set to 160°c /325°f /gas 3
A large family sized, deep sided pie dish.
Minced Beef 500-800g – depending on the size of your family!
Large onion – chopped
Garlic clove – chopped fine
Salt and black pepper
A generous squirt of HP or brown sauce or at least a table spoon full (HP is my secret ingredient!)
Pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 stock cube dissolved in a mug of boiling water (be careful not to get it mixed up with a cup of black coffee – yuk!)
Beef gravy granules
A couple of generous handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
Approximately 3-4 lbs selection of your favourite root vegetables such as butternut squash, turnip, swede, parsnip, sweet potato or carrot peeled and chopped up into medium sized pieces.
Knob of butter
- Begin by frying the minced beef, chopped onion and garlic together until browned and cooked through.
- Season the beef and onion well, adding in the herbs, HP Sauce and finally the stock stirring in well to combine. Pop into pie dish, cover (with a lid or foil) and place into a pre-heated oven for about an hour. I think this hours cooking makes the mince much more tender – I use an AGA, but if you have a slow cooker that would work just as well.
- In the meantime place the veggies into a saucepan, cover with water & a lid, bring to the boil – simmering for around 20 minutes until soft and cooked.
- When cooked, drain the veg well and return to the empty saucepan and mash with plenty of black pepper – adding if you wish a generous knob of butter.
- When the beef and onion mix is nicely cooked remove from the oven and thicken if necessary with beef gravy granules.
- Carefully top the beef with the terracotta mash, finally sprinkling over with some grated cheese (as much or little as you please – I like plenty!)
- Place under a hot grill to quickly brown and then back into a hot oven to bake off for another 40-60 minutes until bubbling, molten gold and crispy round the edges.
- Serve with some green veg on the side.
I guarantee your kitchen will smell wonderful and that you’ll feel both wholesome and motherly with the added bonus of sneaking some extra vegetables onto your families plates!
In addition – To make a traditional Cottage Pie simply substitute root veggies for potatoes and make as above!