Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s Pie)

During the cold winter months a good Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie is a dish of pure comfort, heartiness and simplicity.  With it’s meaty base, added diced vegetables, thick tomato sauce or a thick rich gravy and a topping of mashed potato, sweet potato, makes a delicious meal.  Traditionally mashed potato was lovingly used in it’s country of origin, United Kingdom. For this recipe I used sweet potato and mashed parsnip. They work well as they add a little sweetness to the savoury flavours of the dish.

Ingredients
1 kg beef mince
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely minced)
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
1 tsp thyme (leaves only)
1 carrot (diced)
1 zucchini (diced)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 kg Sweet Potato (peeled, cut, cooked & mashed)
600 g Parsnips (peeled, cut, cooked & mashed)
2 litres water (to cook sweet potato & parsnip)
350 g tomato paste
4 tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preparation Time:     20 minutes (Approximately)
Cooking Time:      50 minutes (Approximately)
Serves:      6 people (Approximately)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C for 15 minutes.  Prepare a ceramic 30 cm x 20 cm dish (5 cm deep).  2 x pots to cook the parsnips and sweet potatoes.
  2. Add water to 2 pots with some salt and bring to a boil.  Add the sweet potato to one pan and the parsnip to another pot cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  Remove from the heat, strain the liquid, add seasoning, mash and place aside to cool.
  3. In a pan over medium heat add the oil, onions and saute′  for a few minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add parsley, thyme, tomato paste, minced meat and cook for a further 6 minutes stirring.  Add the vegetable stock, reduce the heat and cover with lid.  Remove the lid and stir a few times during the cooking process. Cook until the meat is cooked through and the mixture on the dry side. If there is liquid in the pan, remove the lid and increase the temperature for the liquid to evaporate.
  4. When the meat mixture is ready, spread evenly into the ceramic dish, pipe some of the sweet potato on top, repeat with the parsnip covering the dish. Place in the hot oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Cook’s Tips

I used minced beef on this occasion however, you may prefer to use minced lamb or other meat of choice.

A fresh garden salad would accompany this pie very well.

Enjoy!

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