I put a tweet out the other day saying I was making a cottage pie surprise. What was the surprise? It wasn’t really a cottage pie, just inspired by it. I had some minced steak at home and had been planning a pasta type dish until my wife forwarded an email to me from Northbank Restaurant. There were several items on the email and right at the bottom was their recipe for Cottage Pie. Actually the recipe is by their sous chef, Jason. It sounded delicious and as I went through the ingredients, I knew I didn’t have everything so that was out of the question but more importantly, my idea of pasta had gone from my mind too.
So as I drove home from work I thought about his and realised that to do a cottage pie when I got home was a bit of a pain. Peeling potatoes, boiling, mashing, doing the mince filling, all that prep after a day at the office wasn’t really what I wanted. I also knew I had some courgettes that needed using up and so the cottage pie surprise started to come into being.
I got home and after quickly changing, I chopped some red onions and got them sweating off in a little olive oil. I added some chopped red chilli and sweet red peppers and a dash of red wine vinegar before adding the mince to brown off. A dash of Worcester sauce goes in along with some chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Finally some beef gravy. You may look on in horror but I used Bisto because I love it and I wanted something quick and easy that would also thicken up.
While that was cooking away I took a packet of breadcrumbs and added chopped herbs, garlic and seasoning. I then sliced the courgettes at an angle to give a longer slice, dipped them in olive oil and coated with the breadcrumbs. The mince was poured into an oven dish and topped with the courgettes and some of the breadcrumb mix sprinkled over the top.
Looking back at it like that, it seems a lot of prep but it probably only took me about 20 minutes to get everything in the oven. Then I sat, relaxed and let the whole thing cook for 30 minutes at gas mark 6. It made for a very tasty alternative to cottage pie. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures and I can assure you it was very nice and thought I’d share the recipe.
For the filling
400g lean minced steak
2 red onions, chopped finely
Half large red chilli pepper, chopped finely
Dash of Worcester sauce
Dash of red wine vinegar
1 tin/pack chopped tomatoes in their own juice
I tbls tomato puree
Half pint of beef stock or gravy (choice is yours)
Salt & pepper to season
For the topping
2 medium sized courgettes, sliced fairly thin at angles.
Olive oil to coat sliced courgettes. (You can use butter, went for a healthier option here).
Breadcrumbs of your choice, enough to coat the courgettes.
Good handful of chopped fresh herbs of your choice, I used flat leaf parsley & basil as they needed using up.
2 garlic cloves, chopped.
Salt & pepper to season.
This served 3 people with left overs for me for lunch.
Inspired by an email from Northbank Restaurant, www.northbankrestaurant.com a place we have yet to try.