Hairy Bikers’ Cottage Pie

Serves 4-6, Costs £6

Cottage pie is a hearty dish and one that we love to eat. Happily, this version is lower in calories than usual so we can continue to enjoy one of our favourite meals. Use lean beef, cook it without fat and bulk out the mash with leeks to reduce calories.

Ingredients

  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 500ml beef stock, made with 1 beef
  • Stock cube
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 4tsp cornflour
  • 1tbsp cold water
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the leeky potato topping:

  • 750g floury potatoes
  • 2tsp sunflower oil
  • 2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 150g half-fat crême fraiche
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Place a large non-stick saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the mince and cook it with the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Use a couple of wooden spoons to break up the meat as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mince is tender.
  3. About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 4cm chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often. Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan, season to taste and mash with the crême fraiche until smooth. Stir in the sautéed leeks and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°C/Gas Mark 7. When the beef has been simmering for 40 minutes, mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the beef and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring often.
  5. Pour the beef mixture into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, top the beef with the mashed potatoes and leeks. Spoon the mixture all around the edge of the dish before heading into the middle, then fluff up with a fork.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If making this ahead of time, let the pie cool, then cover and put in the fridge.