I have been making this cottage pie with a twist (aka Allera Pie) for as long as I can remember. Mum and Dad used to make it when I was a kid and for a few years it was more or less the only thing I could cook!
I have made it for the majority of my friends at some stage. At dinner parties when I was 18 (and trying to be grown up), at university when we needed some wholesome food (in between all that drinking) and occasionally nowadays. Thankfully my repertoire of recipes has increased over the years and I can now make plenty of dishes, which means its a nice nostalgic treat when it makes a reappearance.
It is a versatile recipe and you can mix it up to suit your taste. I like to add plenty of herbs and veg but you can also add chilli to give it a kick or Chorizo to make it smoky or you can simply throw in all your left over meat and veg to use up what is in your fridge. The filling is also great to freeze and if you don’t fancy the mashed potato topping you can use it as a sauce for pasta.
Preparation time – approx 20 mins
Cooking time – 50 minutes
Serves – 4 people
500g Beef Mince
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1.5 Pint of Beef Stock
Tablespoon of Herbs de Provence
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Purée
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
3 Carrots, roughly chopped
1 Large Courgette, roughly chopped
350g of Mushrooms (White Capped), roughly chopped
A handful of Cherry Tomatoes
Splash of Red Wine
Splash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
4 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Tablespoon of Crème Fraîche
Tablespoon of Butter
200g Grated Cheese, (any kind – Gruyère is my favourite)
1. Add a little oil (I use either Rapeseed or Olive) to a large cast iron casserole dish (if you don’t have one, then any large pan will work as well). Add the onion and garlic and soften.
2. Add the mince and cook until brown.
3. Add in the stock, then the carrots, mushrooms, courgettes, tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and herbs and give it a good stir round.
4. Add a splash of red wine then leave to simmer on the hob for 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the vegetables are soft.
5. Whilst the filling is cooking, boil or steam your potatoes until soft, leave to cool until the steam has gone, add butter, crème fraîche, salt and pepper and mash until nice and smooth.
6. Back to the filling – after it has cooked, add a splash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Add just a little, taste and add more until you have your desired seasoning. Remove from heat. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (gas mark 6).
7. Add the filling to either a large rectangular roaster dish or individual small pie dishes, about two thirds full. Then spoon a layer of mashed potato over the top. Add a layer of cheese and cook in the oven for approx 20 minute, until the top goes golden (small dishes won’t take as long).
Enjoy! Particularly nice with crusty or garlic bread 🙂