We’re in the midst of extensive kitchen renovations and I knew that for six weeks I wouldn’t be able to cook, so I made a whole lot of home-cooked meals which I froze. This is my idea of microwave meals and cottage pie is at the top of the list! It’s delicious and it’s the type of dish you can cook and serve the next day or freeze until it calls your name. It’s screaming my name right now! This is the perfect winter meal or, if you’re like me, the perfect meal to freeze and reheat on a blisteringly hot summer’s day in the Southern Hemisphere!
Servings: 6 Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
500g lean mince
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons oil
30g tomato paste
250g mushrooms, sliced
8 carrots, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
Sprinkle of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 sachet or cube beef stock (my preference is Ina Paarman’s real beef liquid stock in a sachet but you can use any beef stock)
On medium-high heat in a large pan, fry the onion and garlic for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mince and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent from sticking, until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste, mushrooms, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme and pepper. Do not add the salt yet, do this after you’ve added the stock to prevent the dish being too salty. Fry, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
Add the stock in water and flour, stirring to mix well. Cover, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes until thickened.
Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes:
2 tablespoons butter
200 ml milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Peel and quarter the potatoes, place them in a dish, cover with water and cook on high power in the microwave for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain them, add the butter and stir until melted. Pour the milk in and mash until smooth and creamy. Stir in the mustard and nutmeg and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F. Take the mince mixture off the heat and pour into a large casserole dish. Spread the mash evenly over the mince and sprinkle with cheddar.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve, or refrigerate and serve the next day. I cooked and froze this a month ago and it still tastes as if I made it today!