British Favourite - Cottage Pie

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An easy comforting dish of mince beef topped with creamy mashed potato

Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 3-4

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

250g minced beef
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh thyme)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 beef stock cube
Gravy browning
Salt and pepper
5-6 medium sized potatoes
splash of milk
1 large knob of butter

Method

Boil the potatoes until soft then mash them with a small splash of milk and the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip: you want the mash to be fairly stiff or it will sink into the beef when placed in the oven, so don't add too much milk!

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and add the minced beef. Cook on a fairly high heat for 2 mins then add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.

Add the thyme and worcestershire sauce then stir in the flour. Cook on a low heat for 1-2 mins. Crumble in the stock cube then add water (a little at a time) until a thick gravy is formed (roughly 1/2 pint). Add enough gravy browning to make the sauce a rich brown colour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 mins on a low heat.
Tip: be careful not to add too much water. The gravy must be quite thick or the mash will sink!

Transfer the beef to an oven proof dish, then top with the mash. Place a few small dots of butter on the top and cook in the oven (gas '6) for around 25 mins or until browned and bubbling.

Leave to cool for 5 mins before serving with peas.

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