I have always loved a good Cottage Pie and so have my family. It’s just so warming to eat and very easy to make. Every time I cook this, the kids devour the lot and it’s one of my favourites because it can be made en masse for the freezer or for a crowd of people if necessary. After our first child was born a lovely friend made us two of these to get us through those first newborn weeks – one for dinner that night and one for our freezer. She delivered them in oven-ready disposable foil trays and since then I have copied her serving idea stacks of times. If you’re keen to make this for a crowd (such as for a camp or church dinner), you might find it easy to use some of those massive disposable oven trays from the BBQ section of the supermarket. Using the quantities provided below this meal will cost you less than $13 and will easily feed 6 (maybe more).
For Mince Mixture
- 1kg beef mince
- 2 lugs of olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 100g bacon, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked or 1 tablespoon dried from pantry
- 1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup frozen peas (if desired)
- 250ml beef stock
- 1/2 cup red wine (if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons corn flour
For Cheesy Mash Crust
- 1kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 knobs of butter
- a few dashes of milk
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or tasty if that’s all you’ve got)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pan (such as casserole pan, electric frypan or large stovetop frypan), add a little olive oil and cook the bacon on high heat until cooked and coloured. Add onion and mince and cook until everything is browned. Drain off any fat or liquid that results by elevating one end of the pan and decanting with a small cup or large spoon.
- Reduce the heat to low and add celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, tinned tomatoes, peas, beef stock and red wine. Allow the mixture to simmer for half an hour.
- While mince mixture is simmering, peel and slice potatoes, and boil covered with water until very soft and ready for mashing. Drain, add butter and milk until potato is a yummy mash. Add grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
- In a cup, mix corn flour with 1/4 cup water and add to mince mixture to thicken. Allow mince to thicken by turning up the heat for just a minute or two.
- Transfer mince mixture to a making dish. Top with potato and parmesan mash using a fork to give the potato a rough, textured finish. Bake in a hot oven of 220 degrees for 10 mins or until golden brown. Serve alone or with fresh crusty bread.