Cottage pie is native to Great Britain and Ireland and was a long time ago a way to use excess or scraps of meat. Very often such a casserole was prepared by poorer families living in rural settlements. A meat stew with vegetables, baked under a layer of mashed potatoes, was a nutritious and filling dinner for the whole family. Over time, cottage pie has become known all over the world.
It’s not a surprise. The casserole is quite simple and quick to prepare, it does not require hard-to-reach ingredients, it’s filling, nutritious and, above all, very tasty. I guarantee that if you try it once, it will stay on your menu for good.
For keto option, use cauliflower mash instead of potatoes (you can sprinkle some cheese on top) and gluten free soya sauce. Worcestershire sauce has has 21g of carbohydrates per 100ml, but we only use 1 tbsp, so about 15ml, that’s 3.15g of carbs. Soya sauce is about 14g of carbs per 100ml, using 1 tsp (5ml) is less than 1 g. Also if you’d rather like not to use carrots, you can swap it with other low carb veg like celery or Brussels sprouts for example.
To make the sauce, you can use beef stock or beef bones broth – it’s perfect for thickening the sauce. Contains plenty of collagen that thickens the sauce, also cooking collagen turns it to gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It seals the intestines, which is the basis for the treatment of autoimmune or cancerous diseases. It warms up the spleen, which begins the entire energy flow in our body. It adds energy, strength and will also make sure that you do not freeze in winter like most of the population. As bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts leaches into the broth and absorbs easily to help restore cartilage. One of the most valuable components of bone broth stock is gelatin. Gelatin acts like a soft cushion between bones that helps them “glide” without friction. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities.
I really recommend using bone broth instead of popular (and full of chemicals) gravy granules or other similar type flavour enhancers.
- 750 g good quality minced beef
- 2-3 carrots – sliced
- 1 handful of fresh or frozen green peas
- 1 brown onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- beef stock (or beef bones broth)
- 1 tsp dark soya sauce (gluten free for keto option)
- good pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- natural rock salt if needed
- optionally: 1 tsp plain flour to thicken the sauce (skip for keto option)
- about 1kg potatoes or for keto option: the same amount of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp clarified butter
- optionally: some cheddar cheese for topping
Boil potatoes until soft, drain and mash with butter for a smooth puree. If you use cauliflower, the best is to steam it, so it doesn’t get soggy during traditional cooking. Mash it with butter and set aside.
In a pot with a non-stick coating or a large skillet with a lid, fry the meat first. When it is browned (more you brown it, you get the darker sauce), add the diced onion and finely chopped garlic. Fry for a while and add the remaining ingredients: carrots, peas, Worchestershire sauce, soya sauce, pepper, beef broth (not to much, just enough to make some sauce), tomato paste. If you’re going to use flour to thicken the sauce, mix a teaspoon of flour with couple teaspoons of water and pour it over the meat. Stir thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes, covered. A dark, not too thin, but not too thick sauce should be produced. If necessary, add salt.
Pour hot meat stew into a casserole dish, and spread it in an even layer. It’s time for potatoes or cauliflower. This is not the easiest job, but try to spread mashed potatoes/cauliflower as evenly as possible, trying not to mixing it with the meat. You can simplify the task, by waiting for the meat to cool down completely, then it will be easier to spread potatoes/cauliflower. But you’ll need more time in the oven to heat it up.
Optionally you can sprinkle the top with some cheddar cheese.
Now all we have to do is bake our cottage pie. Put the oven on the upper heater or grill function and temperature 180°C. Bake until potatoes are golden brown (if the meat is cold use both heaters and extent the time).
After baking leave it to slightly cool down for about 5 minutes. Serve it while it is hot and fresh.