Cottage pie Recipe from scratch
Start by making up your stock. Put a stock cube or the Knorr stockpot into your measuring jug and pour on boiling water until it reaches the half pint mark. Stir well then add the Worcestershire sauce. Put the cornflour into a cup and pour on a little COLD water, then mix into a runny paste. Pour this into the hot stock.
Preheat your oven to 190oC, 375oF or Gas mark 5.
Peel your potatoes and cut them into small pieces (to ensure they cook more quickly). Place in the medium pan, covered with water. Turn on the heat and boil the potatoes until soft.
While the potatoes are cooking, take your large pan, and add the minced (ground) beef or lamb. Brown over a low heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, so that it is free-flowing rather than in lumps. If your meat is very lean you may need to add a little vegetable oil, but you will often find that the fat starts to run out of the meat as you brown it. As the meat begins to brown, drain off most of the excess fat.
Season the meat with freshly ground black pepper, mixed herbs, tomato puree and brown sauce. Mix well.
Add the onion, carrot and mushrooms to the meat in the pan and stir. Continue to cook until the onion starts to go transparent.
Add the prepared stock.
Remove the pan of meat from the heat and pour contents into your pie dish, and allow to cool for a while so that your mash does not sink when you put it on top.
When the potatoes are cooked, take the pan off the heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, a good pinch of black pepper and a splash of milk. Mash with potato masher.
Cover the cooled meat mixture with the mashed potato, ensuring that all of the meat layer is covered. Gently run a fork across the surface of the mashed potato, creating grooves which will enhance the finished appearance of your cottage pie.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for around 30 minutes.
Serving suggestion: minted peas or cabbage and extra thick gravy.