Farmer's cottage pie... something for long, cold winter evenings...

I know there's nothing like "farmer's cottage pie", it's my name and I'm happy with it :) I've named it like that because of addition of extra vegs, which you wouldn't normally find in a traditional cottage pie. I grab every opportunity to add more vegs to my cooking, especially when cooking for my family (my 2 lil Girls). I'm admitting that I'm myself, well below the target of "5 a day" but with dishes like that I just hope I'm redeeming myself slightly... Cottage pie (or any kind of pie for that matter!) is THE perfect dish for a weather we're experiencing now - cold, windy, rainy and long, dark days... comfort food was created for days like today, especially in Ireland (where it seems to rain 11 months out of 12.... and I'm NOT kidding here when I say that!).
Hope you'll enjoy my little farmer's pie and please do experiment yourself and try adding more, different vegs (basically whatever you can find in your kitchen).

PS. It's also a great "freezer dish". What you have to do is just arrange your 2 layers in an oven proof dish (which you can also freeze, I'm always using those silver trays - no washing afterwards either!). Wait for everything to cool dawn and freeze. ready for those busy days or when you just don't feel like cooking.

How to make it...
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 450 g beef, minced
- 1 big carrot, chopped (or grated if you prefer)
- 1 cup of french beans, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 300 ml beef stock
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato puree
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the topping:
- 1 kg potatoes
- 200 ml full cream milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 25 g butter
- 30 g parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
- 30 g cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and fry until soft and slightly brown.Add your carrot and green beans and fry till soft. Increase the heat, add the minced beef and thyme leaves and fry until the beef changes colour. Add the stock and the tomato puree. Simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and drain them. Add boiling milk and mash the potatoes while they are still hot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and add a blob of butter and half of the cheeses.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Taste your filling and correct the seasoning. Put the meat mixture into one large or six individual pie dishes. Pipe or spread the mashed potato over the top. Sprinkle with the rest of grated cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden and slightly crispy. Serve hot.


You may also like: