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Cottage pie

Serves 4-5
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

"This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!"



  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Left over roast meat, diced or 500g beef mince
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Few thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • For the mash:
  • 4 large potatoes, chopped
  • enough milk to get a good consistency
  • 25g butter
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • For the top:
  • 200g grated cheese
  • 1 sliced tomato
View the method
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the roasted meat or mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns.
  2. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20mins.
  3. Add the garlic and flour and increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45mins.
  4. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little.
  5. Season well, and then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  6. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
  7. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  8. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover.
  9. Top with sliced tomato and sprinkle on the cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 200C (fan/gas 7) and cook for 25-30mins, or until the topping is golden.
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