300g minced beef
1 large onion
100g bacon lardons
2 tblsp cooking oil
100ml water plus 150ml red wine
1 beef stock cube
I tsp Gravy salt
1 tablespoon brown sauce
Ground black pepper
1 tblsp milk
100g tasty cheddar cheese
Prep to Cook: Get out ingredients and a frying pan, long handled spoon, peeler, plate, Pan and lid, colander, potato masher, grater, vegetable knife, chopping board
Prep: 1. Prep the meat:
Use a large deep frying or stir fry pan with a lid.
Peel, chop and fry off the onion with the bacon lardons in the cooking oil
When they show hints of browning add in the mince and mix well.
Make up some beef stock with the cube and water, stir in the brown sauce.
Add wine and stock to the meat mixture and stir thoroughly
Season with black pepper, then stir in gravy salt to deepen the colour.
Cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer this rich brown meat for 25 minutes stirring gently to prevent sticking.
Add more stock if the mixture goes dry. It needs to be juicy.
2. Prep the potato topping:
Peel and chop the potatoes into quarters or halves if smaller potatoes are used
Cover in water and add a teaspoon of salt
Bring to the boil on a high heat and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.
Alternately you can cook the potatoes in the microwave on high for 6 mins
Allow to stand for 2 mins and finish with a further 4 mins on high.
Test the potatoes with a fork to see if they are tender.
Drain through a colander or sieve and return to the pan
Add the butter, a pinch of salt and mash until really smooth.
Add a little milk if the potato mash seems dry.
3. Prep the pies:
Create the individual crofter pies
In 4 individual oven-proof dishes spoon the meaty mixture to make a layer
Spoon the soft mash over the meat to pile up in the dish
Use a fork to peak up the mash.
Grate the cheese and pile over the potato peaks
Place in a hot oven Gas 6 or Electric 200C for 20 minutes until golden ( or grill to brown)
Individual crofters pies are best made in advance – get the cooking done and cleared then serve up the golden topped pies for a relaxing fork supper. Winter or spring these make healthy meals that can be reheated when you need them.
Cooks Know How: You will have a proud feeling when you have tried this recipe. You will multi-task as you prep the meaty layer at the same time as the topping. ( Alternately, you might be using up excess mash from another evening!) You will be more confident in making judgements as to whether the potatoes are cooked. You skills in mashing will be improved and you will see how much better the mash flavour is when you use seasonings and add a little butter. You will recognise how the flavours in meat develop during cooking and that adding lardons or streaky bacon also adds saltiness. You will show style as you present these individual layered potato topped pies.
Think about trying adding another vegetable, perhaps grated carrot in the mince or peeled and diced squash with the potatoes.