Food Network chef Gordon Ramsay's deeply savoury cottage pie makes a comforting mid-week dinner or satisfying lunch, especially on those rainy and dreary spring days.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb. lean minced beef
Sea salt and black pepper
3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Few thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
1-1/3 cup bottled Guinness
5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-1/4 cup chicken stock
1 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and roughly cubed
1-3/4 oz. butter
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan or cheddar, plus extra for grating
1 large egg yolk
Step 1: Place a large frying pan over high heat and add a thin layer of olive oil. Season the mince meat with salt and pepper and fry, stirring, in two or three batches, until nicely browned. Once cooked, tip the mince into a sieve or colander to drain off the fat.
Step 2: Place another large pan over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. When hot, fry the onion, with garlic and thyme, for 8-10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the browned mince, tomatoes and tomato purée. Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes.
Step 3: Add the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce and boil until the liquid has reduced by half. Pour in the stock and return to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes, by which time the mixture should be thick and glossy. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes if it doesn’t seem quite thick enough. Remove from the heat.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 356°F. Meanwhile, add the potatoes to a pan of salted water, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and return to the hot pan for 15 seconds or so, to dry out, then take off the heat. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer back into the pan or mash smoothly. Mix through the butter, cheese and egg yolk. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Step 5: Spoon the mince mixture into the bottom of a 2 L pie dish. Spoon the mashed potato on top and rough up the surface with a fork. Grate over some extra cheese and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
Reprinted with permission from Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food (2009 Harper Collins Canada).