Shepherd’s Cottage is what we called Shepherd’s and Cottage Pies in our house when I was a child and the name has stuck. I like the freedom it provides – use lamb or beef as takes your fancy or as the fridge/freezer allows! Equally delicious with lentils as a base instead of mince.
I like to spice it up a little, using a jar of good shop bought curry paste. I see no harm in using ready-made ‘cheat’ ingredients on the odd occasion. Let’s be realistic, Nigella and Delia both do!
To save time, you can swap out the mash potatoes for a pack of gnocchi, like in the photo. Simply top the pie with the gnocchi (no need to cook or even defrost first), add a few knobs of butter and a grating of cheese if you wish and into the oven it goes.
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic
250g minced beef or lamb
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4-6 mushrooms, sliced
3/4 tablespoon Madras curry paste (I use Pataks)
1/2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 beef stock cube
1/2 pint hot water
a knob butter
a drop of milk
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.
- Place the potatoes in the saucepan with some water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until soft. Drain the water from the potatoes. Add a drop of milk, a knob of butter and seasoning to the potatoes and mash. Put to one side whilst you make the pie filling.
- Gently fry the onion in a little oil until soft. Add the carrot and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.
- Turn up the heat and add the mince, cooking until brown.
- Add the curry paste and tomato puree and mix in well. Crumble in the stock cube and pour in the hot water.
- Season well, turn down the heat and cook gently for 20-30 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
- Top the mixture with the mashed potato and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the topping is brown.
Serve with peas, French beans or whatever vegetables you fancy.