Roots Cottage Pie

“Mum!! What’s for tea?!” the children shout as soon as they come through the back door from school. “Cottage Pie” I shout back and pause. “Ooooh! Yum!” comes the response … job done!

Made with a little bit of care and attention, a traditional cottage pie is hard to beat for family comfort food, filling and healthy, suits all ages (great whizzed up for little ones), perfect for a “cook when you can, serve when they’re ready” approach which is often adopted at our house.

This is also the recipe that I share the most, particularly with my friend’s children as they head off to College/Uni, living away from home for the first time. My son tells me it is a recipe that has sustained him and made him friends along the way.

And it goes with out saying that to make the best cottage pie, it is worth seeking out some really good quality ingredients. Local, organic beef mince that comes from properly matured and carefully prepared beef will give the delicious meaty flavour that such simple food deserves.

Ingredients - Serves 4-6

450g Roots Organic Beef Mince

1 medium cooking onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, small cubes

2 sticks of celery, chopped

Stock cube (made to 500ml) or 500ml of liquid stock

Worcestershire sauce

6 large potatoes, Marfona make a nice fluffy mash

knob of butter, splash of milk, and egg can be added if you like

salt and pepper

Prepare the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté the vegetables in a little olive oil over a low heat until softened. Transfer to a heavy bottomed casserole dish.

In the same frying pan add a little more oil and the beef mince. Turn up the heat a little and brown the mince breaking it up as it cooks with a heatproof utensil. When it is brown all over add it to the casserole.

Add the stock liquor to the casserole, the Worcestershire sauce, season and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow the meat and vegetables to simmer gently while you prepare the mashed potato. Turn on the main oven to 180 degrees C.

Peel and quarter the potatoes, bring them to the boil and cook until they are soft to the touch of a knife. Tip the potatoes into a colander to drain and then back into the hot saucepan with the butter, milk and optional egg, mash until light and fluffy, season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the cottage pie in an ovenproof dish spooning the meat and vegetables into the bottom and topping with the fluffy mashed potato. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until brown on top. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

If you want to make the recipe stretch a bit, add more vegetables or beans in with the meat (or as a replacement if you like) .. make the recipe your own!