Cottage Pie

Finely chop two large Spanish onions and sauté slowly on a very low heat, turning frequently with a spatula. When they start to cottagepie.jpgbecome nice and soft and brown, generously sprinkle dried herbes de Provence, sage, rosemary, a few coriander seeds and plenty of ground black pepper. Add a chopped red pepper; a finely chopped clove of garlic and a finely chopped stick of celery, and mix thoroughly in the pan. You may need to add a little more olive oil (I often add a couple of spoonfuls of my gravy stock as well); it’s important that the mixture is nice and moist. Carefully fold in 600 gms of ground (minced) beef and stir thoroughly, still on a low heat. Then stir in a few good dollops of Dijon mustard, a slug of soy sauce (I sometimes add a little curry powder or Raz el Hanout mixed spice), a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a guilty dash of ketchup. Mix in a little more finely chopped celery, to give people something crunchy to bite on, and turn the whole mess into an oven-proof dish. Add a few cherry tomatoes as an after thought.
[If I have time, I might gently sauté a few slices of aubergine (eggplant) and add to the mixture.]

When the mixture has cooled a little, spread the surface with mashed potato. (I usually use a good quality ready-made mash done in the microwave.) The other day, I topped it with a few thinly-sliced left-over boiled potatoes, and a few slices of cheddar, or a good hard cheese.

Stick it in the fridge; it’s much better the next day when the ingredients have had a chance to become acquainted, or the day after…

When you need a ready meal, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and stick the dish in the oven for about 20 mins. Serve with leaf spinach.

Serves 4.


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