Sunday, 20 April 2008

Recipe: Super easy cottage pie

It's Sunday evening. You're dreading work tmrw and want to have a stress free night in preparation for the week. And then you have to cook dinner...

That was pretty much how this evening went for me. And since I felt like eating ragu sauce, just thought it'll be great to make cottage pie today.

I apologise though because I didn't exactly measure the ingredients.. Just threw everything in and hoped for the best!

First, dice one large onion, a few cloves of garlic, 2 carrots and 2-3 stalks of celery.
Also, preheat a fan oven to 220'C.
Heat olive oil in a large pan - medium heat, throw in the onion and garlic and let them sweat for 5 mins.
Then, add in the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
Next, add in minced beef (or lamb) and stir until the meat is browned. (I have not noted how much meat to add in because I'd bought too little of the meat. But what turned out was a more veggie-based and healthier meal.)
Then, stir in a large jar of pasta sauce, some bay leaves, oregano (or just use one of those mixed herb combos for convenience).
Let the sauce cook for about 5 mins if you like your veggies with a bit of a crunch, longer if you want them softer. The recipes I've looked at had the sauce simmering from a range of 20mins to 1hr. There must be a reason for this but I like my veg to still contain its nutrients rather than an unnutrious blob of mush..
Pour the sauce into an oven-proof pan.
Next, peel some potatoes and grate them. Sprinkle salt over it to prevent from browning and stir in melted butter and pepper for taste. Immediately spread this over the sauce and smooth the top. Add a dash of olive oil on the top, if you like. The recipe I followed said to use an oil spray but I didn't have one at hand so I just drizzled the oil.
Bake in the oven for about 20mins until the top is crisp and brown and the sides are bubbling.

My mistake with this was to grated the potatoes early on. The salt extracts the moisture from the potatoes, making it a soggy, discoloured mush. Even after baking it, the colour still looked a little off. But, Rommel said it tasted good and gave it a thumbs-up!

Now all I need to do is tweak the grated potato topping.

*Hint 1: You can use mashed potatoes of course but this is more work... boiling the potatoes, peeling them, mashing etc.. If you're in a rush, this is quick and easy-peasy.
*Hint 2: The ragu sauce is pretty much a base for loads of dishes. You can eat it with a variety of carbs - pasta, rice, pita bread. I'd initially wanted to pair with my wild grain organic rice I'd bought a few weeks back but changed my mind in the end.
*Hint 3: If cooking for 1-2 ppl, you can make the sauce in a large batch and freeze/refridgerate half of the sauce to use another day.


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Priscilla said...

*pokes* More veggies is good! Grated potato? I never thought of using that! Okay, I'll try doing it soon! Of course, first I have to buy the stupid pie dish... *grumbles* Or maybe I should just use my pyrex bowl... So long as no one else wants to use it :P It's become my favourite bowl in the whole house simply because it can hold lots of soup. Hehehehehe.... I feel bad for hogging it all the time.. Maybe I should buy another one?