Cottage Pie

12:01 am on 28 June 2008

Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes

This is undoubtedly one of my family's all-time favourite dishes. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients - it's straight forward to make.

(Serves 6)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 850g minced beef
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
  • 140g tub tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp plain flour
  • 1 3/4 cups beef stock
  • 1.2 kg potatoes, such as agria (or ones good for mashing)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, plus a little extra for topping
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese, optional


1. Put oil in a large frying pan with onion and carrot. Cover with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to high and add beef. Stir over the heat, breaking the beef apart with a large fork. Once it is no longer pink, add 3/4 teaspoon of salt, plenty of pepper, parsley and thyme, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in flour, then stock, and bring to the boil.

2. Cook gently for 15 minutes partially covered with a lid, stirring from time to time. Transfer to a shallow pie dish (I use a Pyrex 5 cup pie dish). The mixture should still be sloppy; if it looks dryish, add a little more stock.

3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes and mash with butter, adding hot milk to make a light, fluffy puree. Season with salt. Spoon dollops of potato mash on top of beef. Scatter over parmesan cheese and dribble over melted butter.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C (fanbake), until filling is bubbling and topping golden. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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