There is something so satisfying about cooking an old-fashioned and classic meal, but making it the most delicious version of that dish possible.
Shepherd’s pie, or cottage pie, is pretty simple – all you really need to do is brown mince with Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, add peas and carrot, top it with mashed potato and bake.
I started making this shepherd’s pie last night for no reason other than a need to use of some mince that had been in the freezer too long. As I was cooking, I just kept adding extra ingredients and tasting as I went along. Happily, it ended up tasting absolutely delicious!
I started by cooking lean beef mince with a few teaspoons of garlic and ginger, some diced carrots and sliced snow peas.
I added a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Then I decided to start experimenting!
I started the experiment by adding a splash of Chinese rice wine that was leftover from my Chinese BBQ Pork. I often put anchovies in mince-based dishes like spaghetti bolognaise and chilli con carne, so I threw one of those into the mix. I raided the fridge for vegies, and found some spring onions and corn, which I added to the pan with some sliced salami, fresh ground pepper, some dijon mustard and a cup of beef stock. While the meat was simmering and I was cleaning up the kitchen, I came across a bottle of red wine from the previous night which still had about 1/2 cup of wine at the bottom. Score! Into the pan it went!
I simmered the meat until the stock had almost evaporated and the filling was moist, but not too wet.
While the mince was simmering, I chopped up one very large potato and 1/3 of a small cauliflower and boiled them until they were very soft. I always use half cauliflower when I make mashed potato, as I find I cannot taste the difference, and it halves the calories! I leave the skins on the potatoes, to add a little extra goodness. I also keep the water level as low as possible, with the hope that nutrients leached into the cooking water are reabsorbed as much as possible. When the potatoes and cauliflower were cooked and the little remaining water was drained, I added a some fat free natural yoghurt and mashed until the mix was smooth.
When the mince was ready and the potatoes cooked, I topped the mince with the potato mix, and grated a bit of low-fat chedder cheese on top. I cooked the pie for about 20 minutes until it was warm through, and crispy and golden on top.
Hubby and I both agreed – best ever shepherd’s pie!