26 September 2015

Cottage Pie

Goodness, I'm well behind my blogging, work has been so busy and stressful and I'm also doing a course in the evenings, there's not bee much inspiration at all in the past few weeks and the few new things I've tried were not a hit mostly. But today Lundulph has gone to a football match and I'm doing house chores, so might as well try to catch up.


At the end of October, Lundulph expressed a hankering for pie and so we looked through the Hairy Bikers' Perfect Pie book and decided on a Cottage Pie. This is a pie that only has mashed potatoes as a topping, no dough involved at all. I had some minute steak and some braising chunks to use up, so was all in all a good match for all requirements.

On our trip to Dorset earlier this year, we had black garlic aioli at one of the restaurants. This was very tasty and rather curious, so when I saw that they were selling it in my local supermarket, I bought one to try out. How it's made is mentioned in Wikipedia. And I've subsequently seen it used in Swedish cuisine as well. So I swapped the garlic cloves for some of the black garlic in this pie recipe. Needless to say I also dropped the celery.



1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
500 g beef in small chunks
187 ml (small bottle) red wine
2 tbsp plain flour
200 ml beef stock
a splash of chanterelle concentrate (optional)
200 ml water
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried mint
1 bay leaf
a splash of Worcestershire sauce
4 black garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Potato topping

Delia Smith's perfect mashed potatoes


  1. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and carrots for a few minutes until the onions go translucent and the carrots soften. Stir regularly so they don't burn.
  2. Add the beef and fry until browned all over, then add the wine and let simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
  3. In the meantime, make the beef stock and stir in the chanterelle concentrate, water, tomato purée, the dried herbs and Worcestershire sauce. Mash in the black garlic and stir through.
  4. When the wine has reduced in the pan, sprinkle the flour and stir in well and let simmer for a further couple of minutes, before adding the stock mixture.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and leave to cook for some time, depending on the type of beef used.
  6. While the pie filling is cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C and transfer the beef into a pie dish.
  8. Spoon or pipe the mashed potato over the beef, starting from the edge and working inwards.
  9. For extra crunch on the topping, rough up the surface of the potatoes with a fork, then bake for about 25 minutes until the potatoes have gone golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  10. Ready to serve

The amount of filling was a tad too much for my pie dish and I should have made adjustments to the mash, to make it more solid. As it was, it was very runny and at the top of an overfilled pie dish, the result was that things dripped to the bottom of the oven. So a very hot tip is to place a larger baking tray under the pie dish, to save yourself the trouble of oven cleaning. The original recipe calls for cheese in the mash, but we don't do that in our household.


I also didn't allow for the fact that braising steak comes from an older animal and thus requires significantly longer to cook, so I ended up with rather chewy pieces in the pie. Lundulph was very good about it, but frankly this was a very stupid mistake to make.

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