Now we have headed into Autumn I really have the taste for comfort, traditional home cooked food.
One of my favourite meals is Cottage Pie. This was always the meal that I would ask my mum to make for me on return from school residentials. As I’m vegetarian I make mine with Soy Mince. On this particular day I used Tesco Soy Mince but any brand can be used- I look out for offers!
Pre-heat oven to 180C Gas Mark 4.
For the mince
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 medium carrots (sliced)
350g Soy Mince
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
For the Potato Topping
750g Potatoes (peeled and chopped) (I used White but Maris Piper and King Edward are also great for mashing)
2 tablespoons milk
One table spoon butter
One teaspoon mixed herbs
Grated cheese (optional)
Boil the potatoes until tender enough to mash.
In a large frying pan heat the oil.
Add the garlic, onions and carrot and heat for five minutes until soft.
Add the soy mince.
Add the tin tomatoes and stir.
Add a sprinkle of black pepper and mixed herbs to season.
Cover the pan and simmer the mixture until the tin tomatoes are reduce (approx 5 mins).
Transfer the mince mixture into an oven proof dish.
Drain the softened potatoes and start to mash until all lumps are removed.
Add the butter, milk, a sprinkle of nutmeg, black pepper and mixed herbs and mash again.
Add a handful of grated cheese if you like.
Spoon the mash mixture on top of the mince.
Flatten it down and then fluff it up with a fork (so you get lots of crispy bits).
Sprinkle on some grated cheese if you like.
Bake for 20-30 minutes (until the mash is golden and crispy).
Serve with your choice of vegetables (I chose mixed cabbage and leek) and vegetarian gravy.
Cottage Pie can be made in advance and cooked in the oven when required. I sometimes use vegetarian stock in the mince mixture instead of tinned tomatoes). Chillies or Chilli Powder can be added to the mince mixture for those who like Cottage Pie with a kick (Dave and Danny!). You can use any veg that you need to use up in the mince mixture.
You could follow up with an equally comforting Autumn Pudding, such as Apple and Blackberry Crumble. Yum.
What comfort foods do you love to eat at this time of year?