Veg-crammed cottage pie (serves 4)
340g minced steak1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs plain flour
300ml beef stock
1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large carrot, diced
125g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced
300g swede, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 2-3cm)2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks (about 4-5 cm)
300g butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium chunks
small knob of butter
First prepare the filling. Place the meat and onions in a flameproof casserole over a fairly high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and the onion softened. Remove from the heat and blend in the flour followed by the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the carrots and mushrooms and cover.
Now if you are in a hurry and using really good quality minced beef like the minced steak from Farmers Choice, all you need to do is simmer this on the hob, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender – about 15 minutes. But if you are using cheaper mince it will benefit from long slow cooking in a low oven. In fact if you have time, it is worth doing this even if you are using top quality mince as it gives the filling a creamy, unctuous texture.
When cooked, turn it out into the dish you are going to cook and serve it in. If you have time, allow it to cool a little as the gravy will thicken so the topping doesn’t sink in.
Now make the topping - bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the swede. Cook for 5 minutes then add the potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the squash, then continue cooking until all the veg are very soft – about another 10 minutes. Drain and mash with lots of black pepper. You may like to add a knob of butter, but the squash will mean your mash is very soft, so only add a little and don’t add any milk. I like to use a potato ricer – not only does it give a lovely light, lump free mash but it will hold back any fibrous bits in the swede.
Spread the mash over the mince, fork into ridges on the top, dot with a few flecks of butter and bake in a hot oven until browned. The squash and swede give the topping a lovely golden colour and of course sneak extra veg into the dish, but a green vegetable on the side is still delicious!
I am sharing this with Extra Veg at Veggie Desserts, Utterly Scrummy Food 4 Friends and Fuss Free Flavours