Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cottage Pie



Sorry, I haven’t posted for a whole week, for the simple reason that I haven’t cooked anything. It has been a very busy week for both Seb and me, and in the evenings, we only had some cheese or pâté. Yet, come Saturday, I felt a certain twitching and itching in my fingers, like a drug addict who has run out of heroine. I needed my “kitchen high”. So I googled around a bit, until I found what I wanted to prepare. Wrote down my shopping list, and off to the supermarket I dashed.

Now, just one thing: if you’re hungry, like I was when I was preparing dinner, and if you like mashed potatoes as much as I do, have some nibbles before! Because I nearly finished off the plate of mashed potatoes before my dish was finished! “Yum, looks nice,” I said, “gotta taste if there’s enough salt.” And swallowed a forkful. Then, while I was grating the cheese, I went, “How do the potatoes taste with the cheese?” And another big forkful disappeared. Luckily, I had bought a big chunk of cheddar because, well, it tasted heavenly, and I had to try again and again… Suffice it to say that I had thought I had boiled too many potatoes but it turned out I hadn’t after all; it was just enough.

What you need (for 5-6 persons): 
  • 9 potatoes 
  • 500 g of minced beef 
  • 2 carrots 
  • 1-2 cups peas (frozen) 
  • 250 g of mushrooms 
  • 1 onion 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic 
  • ½ l of broth 
  • 1-2 tablespoonfuls of Worcestershire Sauce 
  • Some flour 
  • Olive oil (or butter if you prefer) 
  • Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg 
  • 20 cl cream 
  • Some milk (optional) 
  • 200 g of cheddar cheese (be generous) 
How to proceed: 
  • First, you’ll have to prepare your potatoes. Peel them and cut them into quarters. 
  • Boil them until they’re tender (prick with a knife; if the knife cuts through them smoothly, they’re ready). 
  • Drain them and mash them. 
  • Add salt, pepper and some ground nutmeg. 
  • Add the cream and some milk, if you want. 
  • Chop the onion, garlic and carrots. 
  • Cut the mushrooms. 
  • Now, heat a drizzle of oil or a chunk of butter till the latter has melted. 
  • Stir-fry the mushrooms (they hold a lot of water, so make sure you stir-fry them long enough; your pan should be dry at the end). 
  • Add the minced beef with a pinch of salt and some pepper. 
  • Stir-fry until the meat is golden-brown. 
  • Add the onion, carrots, frozen peas and garlic. 
  • Stir-fry until the onion becomes transparent. 
  • Pour the broth. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven, 150-200°C. 
  • The sauce has to be thick. We’re going to add some flour, spoonful by spoonful, while always stirring, until we get the right consistency. If you move the meat and veggies aside in the pan, it should take some time before the sauce runs back. 
  • Add 1-2 spoonfuls of Worcestershire Sauce and give some last stirs. 
  • Now, fill a casserole with the meat and sauce. 
  • Cover with the mashed potatoes. 
  • Grate cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes; don’t be shy, be generous. 
  • Put the casserole in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the cheddar cheese has melted and turns a nice golden-brown orange. 
You can serve this traditional dish with a side-helping of salad. After a week of ham and cheese and baguette, I can’t tell you with words how delicious I found this Cottage Pie! And the good thing is: as there’s only the two of us, we’ll have some more during the week without having to cook!  
Bon appétit my dear readers!

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