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Here’s another example of classic British cuisine. Unfortunately there is the misconception that Cottage pie is a synonym of Shepherd’s pie, the main difference is that the term “shepherd’s pie” did not appear until 1877 while term cottage pie is known to have been in use since 1791 but, most important, the Shepherd’s pie has mutton as its principal ingredient; while we’re using beef here. The rest of the process is absolutely the same.

  • 1 lb (450g) of lean minced beef
  • 2 lb (900g) of potatoes
  • 1 onion (minced)
  • 1 cup (200g) carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brown the meat in very little oil. Remove season and set aside. Peel and quarter the potatoes; put them in a pan with salted cold water; bring to boil and when a fork inserted in the potatoes breaks the flesh easily, drain and set aside.

In a pan saute the onion in a little oil. Add the celery stalks (chopped) and the carrots (sliced). Stir fry until tender. Return meat to the pan and add the wine. Let the wine evaporate; mix the flour to 1 cup stock, add to meat. Let it simmer until evaporated. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the Herbs de Provence. Add now the frozen peas and remove from heat. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes (I normally boil a carrot too with the potatoes as I like the colouring effect). Lightly beat the egg and the nutmeg, add the milk and pour on the mashed potatoes; mix well. Transfer the meat to an ovenproof dish, top with the potatoes, using a spatula level the topping, and (here’s the tradition)

using a fork, draw regular (or irregular) lines so that once browned and crispy the topping will not look dull.

Serve piping hot with some HP sauce.

Serves 6

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