I made this over the Christmas break, using the leftover roast beef. I’ve never made a cottage or shepherds pie using the left over roast before and as roast dinners were never much on Ma’s repertoire of meals she cooked, even seen one made. So I turned to Delia, who for tradition English cooking is fail safe. The recipe is in her Complete Cookery Course but is pretty close to this one.
I don’t often think of my cooking as traditionally English, I have talked about the importance of routine in cooking and eating, I think that it’s a good way of marking the week and gaining confidence with cooking. You have to make something a couple of times to get a feel for it and routine is comforting. I like getting to the end of the week knowing that there will be pizza on Friday. Cottage (or shepherds) pie was a Monday night dinner, it used up the remains of Sunday’s roast dinner and stretched food a bit further. I don’t often have roast dinners and if I’m eating a cottage pie, it’s probably got lentils in it or is made with raw mince. This was good and if I ever have leftover roast meat, I’ll make it again.
As ever, I deviated slightly from Delia, I don’t have a mincer so I blitzed the meat in the food processor and then did the same to the onions, swede and carrot. Not having any gravy, I just added 10fl oz of water and 3 crumbed OXO cubes into the pan. I didn’t add cinnamon or fresh herbs but added a good shake of mixed herbs. I’m not sure that the tomato purée would have worked so well with lamb but it was perfect for the beef, and I ended up with a rich beef mixture.
I don’t think I’ve ever made mash to a recipe, it could be that my Irish heritage means that I was born knowing how to do it or I could have grown up watching Ma do it all the time and picked it up, although I should point out that I’ve never bought the lumps (sorry it’s a very bad family joke – my dad used to complain about lumps in the mashed potatoes and Ma used to pretend that she’d bought them specially!) I boiled some potatoes with the rest of the swede and mashed them with some milk, butter and lots of black pepper.
I made one big pie which we ate on New Year’s Day, and two little ones (I used these) for the freezer.
So another option for leftover roast beef should you have any!