Cottage pie

Cottage pie

More Home Comforts
Peter Cassidy

If you asked me for one dish aside from steak and chips that I’d be happy cooking for any big-name chef who ventures into my kitchen at home, this would be it. The key is in its simplicity: good-quality slow-cooked beef, fantastic mashed potato, cooked with care and attention, and fresh peas. Life just does not get any better. All chefs love the crispy edges, so don’t clean the dish before serving! Those are the best bits.


Quantity Ingredient
8 medium baking potatoes
1 tabespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for rubbing
rock salt
600g minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely diced
2 tabespoon tomato puree
worcestershire sauce, to taste
9 carrots, unpeeled
100ml red wine
500ml beef stock
freshly ground black pepper
50g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
150ml milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, then rub with a little oil. Set them on a bed of rock salt in a tray and bake for 1–1½ hours, or until tender.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan until hot. Add the vegetable oil and fry the beef until just browned. Add the onions, garlic, thyme and celery, and fry for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the Worcestershire sauce and one of the carrots, finely diced. Add the red wine and cook until reduced by one-third, then add the beef stock and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. Tip the mince into a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper, and as much Worcestershire sauce as you like. Set aside in the fridge to cool while you make the mash.
  4. While the beef cools, top and tail the remaining carrots and place them in a pan half filled with water. Add a pinch of salt, the sugar and a knob of butter, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 30–40 minutes until soft. The liquid should evaporate, leaving a lovely glaze to the carrots.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked and just cool enough to handle, slice them in half, scoop out the flesh and pass through a potato ricer into a bowl. Turn the oven up to 220°C. Add almost all the remaining butter to the potatoes and warm the milk in a saucepan until just simmering. Pour onto the potatoes and beat until the mash is smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the cooled mince into a baking dish and spoon the hot mash over the top, fluffing the top with a fork. Scatter over a few dots of butter, then place in the oven for 10–15 minutes, until golden-brown and piping hot throughout.
  7. Serve with the carrots.
Home Comforts
British food
classic recipes
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