12 December, 2011

cottage pie in my interpretation

All time favourite this pie is for my husband. Normally, you would eat this in wintertime. Well, normally...but a couple of times it has been asked by him in the middle of July, when the thermometer is around +35°C outside! So, I would not categorically say that this is a winter food per se.
No doubt though that it is comforting, heavy and classy for those who is looking for some warmth in the long, cold winter evenings.
not a pretty dish
Easier done than said (just to revers the saying). Even for a beginner will find it easy to prepare! The long list of the ingredients should be no reason to stop you to make it tonight.

for the ragout:
1 spring onion
1 clove of garlic
1 carrot
1 parsley root
 300-500g minced beef
cca. 350-400g tomatoe passata
1,5 dl dry red wine
1 beef stock cube (or 1 dl beef stock)
1 tsp of salt, and freshly grated pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of dried sage
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 pinch of cinnamon
0,5 tsp honey
200-300 g button mushroom (quartered or halved if too big)

for the mash
800-1000g potatoe
cca. 1 dl milk and same amount of cooking cream
cca. 50-70 g butter
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt, pepper
grated cheese of your choice (cheddar rulez!)

Start with the ragout and while it's cooking prepare the mash as well.
For the ragout, heat some olive oil (plain) in a sandwich base pan and add the onion and the garlic. Turn the heat down, otherwise the garlic will burn and that might ruin your dish. Add the peeled sliced carrot and parsley and the mince meat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the beef browns and the vegetables soften. Add the red wine and cook for an other 3 minutes without the lid on. Add the stock (cube or not cube, that's up to you) and the tomatoe passata.  - Before you start the seasoning, taste the base bec. the stock might be salty enough and you don't need to add much salt.
Season with the selected spices (of course it's up to your taste what spices/herbs you use - my list is our favourite and it's only an idea for you to select from). Cook for 20 minutes with the lid on and in the meantime preheat your oven (180°C will do) and prepare the mash.
For the mash, I usually cook the potatoe for 15 minutes from boiling point. Sieve, add the butter then mash and then add the heated cream/milk, season, stir and add the grated cheese (cca. 50g) and ready.
When the ragout is getting close to be ready, take the lid off, let the excess juice evaporate and add the mushroom. Cook for 5 more minutes and take off the heat.
Assembly: butter a heatproof dish and sprinkle with some breadcrumbs. This will help to thicken the ragout and stop it from burning down at the bottom of the dish.
Pour the ragout in the dish (you can save some and eat it with some spaghetti and you can name it as a spaghetti bolognese:D )then mash potatoe on the top and grate cheese for the sake of it...
Cook in the oven till turns into golden brown and serve it piping hot!
cottage pie

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