Cottage pie is a traditional dish from the UK. As a child it was on the menu at least once a week whether it be for school dinners or at home. Coming from a family of 5 with parents who worked full time and some more- mince dinners provided routine to our week.
My mother is the accomplished queen of mince. She would make a huge batch of minced beef filling on a Monday night and it would metamorphasise throughout the week into various dishes- starting its culinary journey off as cottage pie, mince & potatoes, spaghetti bolognese, lasagna and finally blossoming into a spicy chilli con carne. Needless to say her children are also proficient in making mince beef filling and I’m pretty sure my nephews are thriving on a daily diet of spaghetti bolognese!
To set this cottage pie recipe apart from every other cottage pie, we decided to add a Scottish twist of black pudding and we all know how the Scottish like their alcohol, considering this it was absolutely necessary to add a wee dram of red wine!
Black pudding has been the holy grail until I recently discovered it in villa supermarket (Thonglor), around twice the price but well worth it. For me black pudding is a love story and convinces me long distant relationships do work. It’s eagerly chucked straight in the shopping basket after returning from Asia, the full English/ Scottish breakfast is one of life’s simple pleasures- made complete by black pudding.
For those who aren’t lucky enough to have access to black pudding let me describe my guilty pleasure but please don’t judge until you’ve tried it! Black pudding is made of curdled and boiled pig blood, mixed with chunks of pork fat (for texture and juiciness) and spices, then stuffed into a sausage casing, many people may balk at this description but for me it’s an unconditional love for porky goodness!
- 900g lean minced beef
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1tbs of cooking oil
- 1 – 2 cups of water
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 beef oxo cubes
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1 tbs Worcester sauce
- 2 tsp Bisto gravy
- 200g of haggis or black pudding.
- 200g turnip, diced
- 1tsp of plain flour
- 1kg of Maris piper potatoes, sliced to 1 inch thickness
- 150ml cooking cream
- 100g salted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 50ml milk
- 150g grated cheddar cheese
- Heat oil in a thick bottom pan.
- Saute diced onions until soft and translucent, add water small amounts of water as necessary to prevent dis-colouration of the onion.
- Add bay leaf.
- Add minced beef to the pan and brown, stir gently to ensure even cooking.
- Crumble in the haggis or black pudding.
- Crumble in the beef oxo cubes whilst stirring.
- Add the tomato paste, turnip, and water.
- Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add Bisto gravy granules.
- Mix 1 tsp of plain flour with about 20ml of water then add to the meat filling whilst stirring.
- Heat for 2 minutes on a medium high heat -continuously stirring whilst the mixture thickens.
- After the potatoes have been sliced, wash them to remove any excess starch then place them in a pan of cold water making sure they are submerged, bring the contents to the boil.
- When the potatoes are soft and a fork can penetrate easily into the potato -drain the potatoes.
- Place the potatoes back into the pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes to remove any excess water.
- Add milk, cream, salt and butter to a small saucepan and place over a low/ medium heat until the butter has melted.
- Add the melted butter mixture to the dried potatoes and mash, be-careful not to over mash which will cause the mashed potatoes to become gluey in texture.
- Evenly deposit the meat filing into an oven proof dish and pipe the mashed potato on top.
- Sprinkle grated cheese over evenly.
- Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 20 minutes. Until the cheese has melted and the topping is golden brown.