Although there's no sign of it today I have been confidently assured that spring is no far away, with that in mind I've been cooking up some of my favourite winter dishes before the weather turns back to spring and the time for summer recipes returns.
One of mine (and I think everybodies) favourites has to be cottage pie. My cottage pie is a slight twist from the classic recipe as I used braising steak instead of the usual mince, after slow-cooking the steak for several hours it became so tender it just fell apart and left me with a fantastic rich, meaty stew, the perfect filling for my pie.I really love the crispy crusty bits on top of a cottage pie, to achieve maximum crustiness I always fluff up the top before baking and then flash it under the grill before serving.
For the filling: -
- 400g braising/stewing steak cut into large chunks, seasoned and dusted with flour
- Sunflower or other cooking oil
- 2 medium onions roughly chopped
- A stick of celery finely sliced
- 3 carrots roughly chopped
- A pint of beef stock
- A couple of bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 3 large potatoes peeled
- Salt and pepper
- To prepare the filling first put a large casserole dish on the hob at a medium heat
- Add a little oil and cook the meat until it is well browned
- Add the onions celery and carrots and cook for a minute longer
- Tip in the stock, add the bay leaves and bring to a gentle simmer
- Cover the casserole dish and turn the heat right down, leave it to cook for at least an hour, preferably 2 or more.
- To make the mash topping simply boil the potatoes until tender, drain, add hot milk, butter and seasoning then mash!
- To assemble pour the filling into an oven proof dish
- Spoon the potato on top and fluff up well for extra crustiness
- Bake at gas 4 for 1-1 1/2 hours until golden
- If the top isn't crusty enough just stick it under the grill for a minute.