Much to my family’s disappointment, I’m just not a fan of Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie. Nothing to do with the taste or flavour, I just can’t handle the texture of mince with mashed potato for some reason! Keen to make a nice, wintery and warming meal this weekend, I decided to put a bit of a twist on the regular Cottage pie by replacing the traditional beef mince with some chunky beef stewing steak and turning the whole thing into more of a Steak and Ale pie vibe. The addition of the stilton to the mash is wonderful, it adds a lovely tang to what is a smooth and comforting pie topper. If you aren’t keen on blue cheese, simply leave this out. If you do, the points are 10sp per portion.
I served my pie with a portion of peas which are now 0sp on the new Flex Plan!
This recipe makes four big portions of cottage pie so is perfect for Sunday lunch or, for tea for 2 with leftovers for 2 the next day.
Steak, Brown Ale and Stilton Cottage Pie
Serves 4 = 13sp each (Flex)
(Without the blue stilton = 10sp per portion)
For the filling
400g lean beef stewing steak, raw, cubed
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Large box of mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
Handful of fresh thyme, roughly chopped (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1 beef stock cube (made up with 500ml boiling water)
300ml Brown Ale (I’ve used the good old Newcastle Brown Ale and Aldi’s own – both were good!)
Pinch of sugar
For the mash top
600g potatoes (suitable for mashing, I used maris piper), peeled and roughly cubed
80g blue stilton, crumbled
2 tbsp lightest crème fraiche (I used Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself)
100ml skimmed milk
200g frozen peas (add extra 1sp per person)
Fill the kettle and pop on to boil. Pre heat the oven to 150c.
Pop the beef in a large bowl, add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Coat the beef completely in the seasoned flour. Add the oil to a large sauce pan, heat and then add the beef. Fry the beef for 4-5 minutes until the beef is sealed (but not cooked through). Remove the beef from the pan and pop into a bowl to one side.
In the same pan add the onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms. Fry for 4-5 minutes until the onions start to soften (add a little water if the pan starts getting a little dry). Add the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce, fry for another minute and then add the beef stock and brown ale with a pinch of sugar. Add the beef back to the pan with the rosemary and thyme, stir and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the pie mixture for 1 hour until the beef and carrots are soft and the sauce has reduced nicely. Remove from the heat and let the pie filling cook (for around half an hour if you have time). This will stop the mash sinking into the beef.
While the filling is cooling, make the mash. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 8-10 minutes (until the potatoes are soft). Then mash (or rice) in a large bowl until nice and smooth. Add the stilton and crème fraiche and start to whip up, adding the skimmed milk splash by splash until the mash is nice and smooth (don’t add the milk all at once, you want to gauge the texture of the mash without it becoming to loose – you may not use it all). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Take a large pie dish and add the filling to the base. Then either spread the mash over the top or pipe on as I did. Pop in the oven for half an hour so the top of the mash goes nice and crispy. Remove from the oven and leave to rest while you make the peas.
Finally, pop the peas on to boil for five minutes and then drain and season.
To serve, add the pie to a nice deep bowl and add the peas.