10 Chefs Share Their Cottage Pie Tips

10 Chefs Share Their Cottage Pie Tips

Cottage pie is one of the most comforting family favourites. From twists on the classic recipe to veggie-packed alternatives, some of the UK’s top chefs share their tips for making the best version of the dish at home…

Steven Edwards, Etch 

“Cottage pie is about the quality of the beef and how much love you put into the mash. This is a classic British dish and one that is very humble but also a household favourite. Use Maris Piper or Agria potatoes for the mash and pimp them up with lots of butter, milk and clotted cream – as much as the potatoes can take! For the beef, please support your local butcher. You will notice the quality difference instantly. Ask for a chuck steak mince as it gives a beautiful balance between fat content and flavour.”

Visit EtchFood.co.uk

Will Murray and Jack Croft, Fallow 

“Always try and use mince with a good fat content (at least 20%). Once the mince has caramelised nicely, set aside and slowly cook the finely chopped veg in the fat to maximise sweetness. Add a liberal amount of Henderson’s Relish for a hit of spice.”

Visit FallowRestaurant.com

Kenny Tutt, Pitch Restaurant & Cookery School

“A great cottage pie is about three things: rich, slow-cooked beef filling, creamy buttery mash and lots of strong cheese bubbling on the top. Start with a mirepoix of onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf which is slowly cooked before browning off quality steak mince in batches to get a deep flavour. Combine the two with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a beef stock cube, salt, plenty of cracked black pepper and finish with a good glug of red wine before cooking low and slow. Then, use a potato ricer and lots of butter for the perfect mash topping. For the cheese, try a mix of strong cheddar or a good gruyere and parmesan for a final flavour hit.”

Visit PitchRestaurant.co.uk

David Moore, Pied à Terre

“Growing up in Blackpool, gravy was a crucial part of many of our meals and it still is in my house. Try adding two teaspoons of Bisto granules to the mince. It helps to thicken the mix and adds an extra depth of flavour.” 

Visit Pied-A-Terre.co.uk

Rick Toogood, Prawn On The Lawn

"Cottage pie is a quick and easy one to reheat. When making the beef mince filling, add a teaspoon of Marmite and a splash of soy sauce to add a little extra richness, as well as a splash of red wine vinegar to balance it all out. Some English mustard and a tablespoon of creme fraiche mixed through the mash for the topping lightens it up brilliantly. If you’re feeling fancy, switching out the beef mince for slow-cooked beef shin takes it to another level.”

Visit PrawnOnTheLawn.com

Rupert Willday, Charlie Bigham’s

“Use Sunday roast leftovers to add real depth of flavour. When it comes to the potatoes, opt for Duke of York or Desiree where possible. Peel them, then cook them in salted water until tender. Drain and allow to stand for a couple of minutes to drain off any extra moisture. Mash or dice the potatoes and combine with butter, seasoning well. Dollop the mash on top of the mince, covering evenly. Fluff with a fork into plenty of ridges to help it crisp. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes until beautifully golden.” 

Visit Bighams.com

Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Bettina’s Kitchen 

“Instead of using beef mince you could use lentils, quinoa or a mix of both. Add some chopped walnuts or rice for that extra bite. You could even use courgettes or aubergines as the base and add a dollop of Marmite, too.” 

Visit BettinasKitchen.com

Sara Lewis, Vintry & Mercer

“Make a vegetable ‘cottage pie’ using odd bits from the fridge and cupboard. Cut vegetables – such as carrot, butternut squash, aubergine and courgette – into 1cm pieces. In a pan, warm a tablespoon of olive oil and slowly sweat garlic or garlic puree and onions with a pinch of salt. Once the onions are soft, add the rest of the vegetables. Sweat for two minutes and add the tomato puree, then add a splash of red wine. Once this is reduced a little, add the gravy granules and water to cover. Cook until the veg is al dente, then 100g of frozen peas and transfer to an ovenproof dish. To make the topping, add a knob of butter, 100ml of milk, salt and pepper, and one egg yolk to the mashed potatoes to create a beautiful golden-brown topping. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top for that extra note of creaminess.”

Visit VintryAndMercer.com

Joe Rozier, The Mariners by Paul Ainsworth 

“When all the mince is covered with your mash, create ridges on the surface using a fork to ensure you achieve a really crisp topping. Add a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard to the mash beforehand to make each bite a bit peppery and tangy.” 

Visit PaulAinsworth.co.uk

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