Cottage Pie with Root Vegetable Mash

One dish that really takes me back to childhood and having dinner cooked for me by my mum is cottage pie. Whenever I eat it, it brings back memories of the whole family sat together eating dinner. It would be one of her dishes that she would typically make when there were extra mouths to feed at the table as it could be bulked out and made to go further if needed.

She made it far more traditionally than this recipe I’m sharing. She used plain mashed potato, making it with plenty of butter and milk so it was lovely and creamy. She would top it with a thick layer of cheese, which had been left in the oven for ages so had crisped up deliciously. Diced carrots and or mushrooms would often go in to the mince mixture and and there would be extra vegetables on the side, often tinned tomatoes, spaghetti or beans. 

This version isn’t quite so rich or comforting unfortunately, but it is healthy and satisfying. I try to incorporate all my vegetables in to the dish so that i don’t have to do anything extra or create more washing up. My mash is made with a mixture of potato, sweet potato, carrot and parsnip, which gives it a lovely hint of sweetness and adds extra vegetables to the dish. I don’t make my mash with milk or butter as it doesn’t need it but I do have to add cheese. It really wouldn’t be the same without it. I do use the lower fat cheddar version however, to keep the fat within reason, but you don’t quite get the same crisp topping from it than full fat cheese. I add lentils to my mince mixture to add a little more protein and fibre and to absorb some of the moisture from the stock, which allows it to thicken up more. 

If you are craving some home comfort food that takes you back to your childhood but you don’t want the extra calories, then try my version of cottage pie and let me know what you think. The recipe is incredibly flexible and you can swap vegetables in and out if you wish. Sometimes I make the mince with added vegetables such as mushrooms and carrots, sometimes I add swede or turnip to the root mash. It does take a little longer to make than my usual recipes so make sure you plan ahead with this one. It also means there are a few extra steps than normal so I find it’s one I only make when I have an extra pair of hands near by to help if I need it. Warning though, its very filling!

Print Recipe
Cottage Pie with Root Vegetable Mash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the mince:
For the root vegetable mash
For the topping:
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the mince:
For the root vegetable mash
For the topping:
Instructions
To prepare:
  1. Peel and dice the onion, peel and crush the garlic.
  2. Add both to a frying pan with the olive oil.
  3. Make up the stock and weigh out the lentils.
  4. Peel and dice the carrot and add to a large lidded saucepan.
  5. Peel and dice the potato, sweet potato and parsnip in to similar size pieces to the carrot.
To cook:
  1. Heat the frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Fill and put the kettle on to boil. Once boiled pour in to the pan with the carrots and cover with a lid. Set the heat to medium and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mince to the frying pan with the garlic and onion and continue to fry for 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the mixed herbs, stir and turn down the heat to low.
  5. Pour in the stock and lentils and leave to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Once 5 minutes are up on the carrots, add the potato, sweet potato and parsnip to the pan and continue to boil for another 15 minutes.
  7. While everything is cooking prepare the topping. Grate the cheese and slice the tomato in to thin rounds.
  8. Once the vegetables are cooked strain the water off and return the vegetables to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste then mash by either using a potato masher or ricer, which ever you prefer. I use a ricer.
  9. Once the mince is cooked remove from the heat and leave to one side until ready to assemble the pie.
For the cottage pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. I find it easier to use 2 individual sized rectangular oven proof dishes as it doesn’t take as long to cook and is easier once cooked as you don’t then have to divide it up to serve. If you don’t have this type of dish then just use any oven proof dish or tray that is deep enough.
    2 ovenproof dishes
  3. Start by placing the mince in the bottom of the dish and spread out to cover.
  4. Dollop on the mash and spread out evenly so that all the mince is covered.
  5. Scatter over the grated cheese and place the tomato slices on top.
  6. Place in the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes. 30 minutes if you are cooking the pie as one whole rather than 2 individual portions.
  7. Leave for 5 minutes to cool before serving as it will be too hot otherwise.
Recipe Notes

If you make this, let me know how it goes and share your photos.  I’d also love to hear how you adapt it to suit yourself.



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