Top tip: make your meat mixture the day before, then leave in the fridge overnight so that all of the lovely flavours fully permeate the meat ― making the sauce even richer
Ok technically, this isn’t shepherd’s pie at all. It’s cottage pie. But I started calling it shepherd’s pie before I found out the difference between what constitutes a shepherd’s what constitutes a cottage; and, well, I’m stubborn. So shepherd’s pie it is.
Once upon a time, my entire meal repertoire consisted of either veggie dishes, Quorn dishes, or chicken dishes. I didn’t like beef, and I certainly didn’t like mince. Well, it turns out that in actual fact, I liked both; and once I’d been brave enough (yes, this does qualify as an act of bravery) to buy some mince steak, unwrap this thing that was nothing like chicken, and add a shed load of flavours to mask the non-chicken like smell, I discovered that I made a pretty mean shepherd’s (cottage) pie. In fact, it was the nicest meal I’d ever made, and to this day remains my signature dish of choice.
I still don’t like shepherd’s (cottage) pie made by anyone else, because I find there are never enough flavours, and not nearly enough booze. In this version, the sauce is incredibly rich and satisfying. As a rule, the meat mixture from your shepherd’s (cottage) pie should be rich enough to double up as the sauce for spag bol ― with the addition of herbs and a little bacon.
So if you fancy making a pie that packs a real punch, follow the simple steps below ― and don’t scrimp on the wine!
For the meat
- Olive oil
- 2 white onions
- 2 garlic gloves
- 1 pack of lean minced steak
- 2 glasses of full bodied red wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
- A very large dousing of Worcester sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- One beef stock pot
- 2 tbsp gravy granules
For the mash
- About six medium-large potatoes
- A good glug of milk and cream
- A large knob of real butter
- A very large grating of cheddar cheese
- More Worcester sauce
Making the magic happen
- Heat your oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion and garlic. Fry on a medium heat until golden
- Add the minced steak and turn up the heat slightly. Fry until brown then sprinkle in your Worcester sauce, pour in your wine, and stir well
- Squeeze in your tomato puree and stir in, followed by your beef stock pot and gravy granules, then add a glug of hot water and mix well
- There should be quite a lot of liquid now. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover your pan and leave to simmer for around 2 hours, then transfer into your pie dish and leave in the fridge overnight
- The next day, take the pie dish out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 230C
- Make your mash by boiling the potatoes in salted water, simmering for about 25 minutes (or until all of your spuds are soft but not mushy), and mashing well
- In a separate pan, heat your milk, cream and butter until melted. Add to the mash in batches, combining each one before adding the next. When your potato is smooth and creamy, stir in two handfuls of grated cheese, mix, then spoon on top of the meat mixture (it should still be firm from the fridge, making it easier to add to the potato)
- Top with another generous sprinkling of cheddar, Worcester sauce, and salt and pepper
- Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the top is browed and bubbling
- Serve with homemade Yorkshire puds, sugar snap peas, and a whole heap of thick gravy
Love Emma xx