Cottage Pie With Root Veg Topping

cottageThis has always been a winner, nice and healthy but satisfying at the same time.  It’s packed with vegetables and lean meat but full of flavour. Obviously like most of the recipes here if you prefer to make it a bit naughty you can add a bit of butter and normal potato. Probably the most important thing for this recipe is 2 glasses of red wine; one for the pie and one to slurp ‘a la Keith Floyd’ style haha


500 g lean steak mince.
1 large onion.
2/3 cloves of garlic.
Half a red chilli (more or less as required)
1-2 carrots diced
1-2 stick of celery diced
1-2 red, green or yellow pepper.

3 large mushrooms chopped (or whatever you have)
1 rich beef stock pot  or cube (gluten free)

1 glass of red wine (don’t forget one for yourself as it’s only polite!)
1 tbsp tomato purée

1tbsp Cornflower mixed a couple of tbsps of COLD water (if required)

For the Topping

1/2 a butternut squash chopped

2-3 parsnips chopped

2/3 carrots chopped

Finely chopped spring onion (opt)

Small bunch of fresh thyme and/or rosemary sprigs

pinch of salt if required

fresh thyme

Ground black pepper

Strong cheddar cheese or parmesan for a golden topping (opt)

N.B.  This works equally well with any root veg topping or mashed cauliflower. Any veg can be used in the pie as indeed the steak mince can be substituted with turkey mince, soya mince, Quorn mince or indeed just more veg.  It really doesn’t matter just use what you’ve got.


Steam or boil the root vegetables/cauliflower with the fresh herbs and seasoning until soft and retain the cooking water.
In the meantime fry the mince with a spray of olive oil for a few minutes until browned. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen paper or into a sieve to remove some of the fat.
Fry the onion, garlic, carrots, chilli, celery, tomato puree and pepper for a few minutes until soft.

Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.

Return the meat to the pan and mix together,
Remove the sprigs of thyme from the boiled veg and strip off the leaves.  Add to the pan.

Add the wine and allow to reduce until most of liquid has evaporated.

Sir in the stock cubes  allow to dissolve.
Pour in the veg water and cook on medium heat until the liquid has reduced slightly (keep adding the veg water to your desired consistency).

If too runny add the cornflower and water and bring to the boil
Season to taste  salt and black pepper.
Mash or blend the root vegetables/cauliflower with a small amount of skimmed milk
Put the meat mixture into an oven proof serving dish or individual foil dishes (ready to freeze).
Spread the mashed root veg/cauliflower on the top and season with black pepper.

Sprinkle with cheese if using
Place under the grill until browned and the cheese is bubbling

Sprinkle with spring onion if using

N.B. Alternative Topping
Swede, butternut squash or any other root vegetables with the cottage cheese also works well

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