Cottage Pie

Pre-heat oven to: 200°C/400°F/Gas 6
Time in oven: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 6


2 tblsp oil
1 lb/450g minced beef
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, diced
2 tblsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tblsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and ground black pepper
1 tblsp plain flour
1 tblsp tomato purée
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
½ pt/300ml vegetable stock

2 lb/900g floury potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 fl oz/75ml milk
2 oz/50g butter
2 small leeks, trimmed, rinsed and chopped
3 oz/75g Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Heat oil in pan, stir in minced beef and fry for 5 minutes until browned.
2. Stir onions into minced beef and fry for 5 minutes until soft.
3. Add carrots and herbs, seasoning well.
4. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
5. Stir tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce into hot stock.
6. Add gradually to meat mixture, stirring well.
7. Continue stirring, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until meat is tender.
8. Meanwhile, place potatoes in pan of water and bring to the boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain potatoes, peel and discard skin.
9. Place in large bowl, mash with milk and three quarters of butter and season.
10. Spoon meat mixture into a 2.5pt/1.5 litre deep roasting tin or oven-proof dish and level the surface.
11. Spoon mashed potatoes over meat, spreading out evenly with the back of a spoon.
12. Melt remaining butter in pan, add leeks and fry for 5 minutes.
13. Sprinkle leeks and grated cheese over mashed potatoes.
14. Bake in oven until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

Alice MacLeod, Lochs, Lewis