I have a confession to make. Only in writing this recipe have I realised there’s a difference between cottage and shepherd’s pies.
Technically, this one’s a cottage pie because I’ve used minced beef, but if lamb is more your jam, go ahead and call it shepherd. Or, if you’d rather forgo meat all together, check out my vegetarian bolognese recipe for a shepherd-less option.
As is the theme with almost every recipe I post, my cottage pie is fully loaded with lots of veg throughout.
Celery, carrots, zucchini, onion and lentils beef the mince out to more than twice its volume, while a mix of cauliflower and potatoes make the mash extra creamy.
Stewed in a gravy of rich tomato paste and savoury chicken stock, you’d be surprised how traditional this non-traditional, comforting cottage pie tastes.
What’s more, this super simple big batch recipe makes enough for eight serves and is perfect to freeze for a rainy day.
2 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery sticks
500g extra lean mince beef
170g tomato paste
1 tin cooked lentils (400g~)
1 tbs chopped oregano leaves
1 tsp chili flakes
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 small cauliflower (roughly the same volume as the potatoes), chopped into small florets
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup grated light cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and a little salt, and soften.
Either in a food processor, or by hand, finely chop the celery. Add to the pot and fry for a few minutes. Add the beef.
Cook until completely browned, and until any liquid which has been released has evaporated. Allow to fry slightly until the meat starts to colour – but not burn. Add tomato paste and fry for a few minutes more.
Either in a food processor, or by hand, finely chop the zucchinis and carrots. Add to the mince, along with the drained lentils, oregano, chili flakes and stock. Give it all a good stir and allow to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated – around 15 – 20 minutes – stirring now and then. Season to taste.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a seperate pot, cover potatoes and cauliflower completely with salted water and cook until soft – around 10 – 15 minutes.
Drain, add the butter and milk and mash until smooth. Add half the cheese and stir through, letting the heat melt it through. Season to taste.
When most of the liquid has evaporated from the mince, transfer it into an oven-safe dish, making sure to leave around 2cm for the mash to go on top.
Cover with the mash. Using the back of a spoon or fork, make peaks and valleys in the mash. The more texture, the more the mash catches in the oven and gets extra yum!
Add remaining cheese on top and cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot or freeze portions for when you need them.