Cottage pie with cauliflower cheese mash

In England,even in the summer you want a comfort food,so while this dish is perfect for autumn evenings,bonfire night etc due to the amount of rain and chilly weather we have had this summer I find myself making this quite often. The cottage pie base is my go to recipe for all things mince with a few different herbs you can have bolognaise, chilli,etc. likewise with the cauliflower mash,I use it to top fish pie,or as a side dish at least once a week.


for the base you will need mince beef,mushrooms,mixed herbs,garlic powder,stock either home made bone broth or from a cube if you don’t have an issue with the ingredients.
start by pouring a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan,I use a wok because it gives you lots of room to mix in but deep sides so nothing falls out.
Add your mince and stir to break it up and let it cook and change colour
AS it cooks ,you can add your herbs,I use garlic powder to get a garlic flavour without the extra carbs of fresh garlic and a generous spinkle of mixed herbs or herbs de province. mix them in to the meat.




Its up to you how you flavour your meat,you can use,Worcestershire sauce,bovril or a stock cube like oxo or knorr stock pot. I have struggled to find a stock cube/liquid that doesn’t have maltodextrin in it and I am reluctant to use them because of this.I do make my own stock and in this meal I am using a portion of ox tail broth that I made a while ago and has been in my freezer. I sometimes also use dried onions to give flavour but not extra carbs of fresh onions. like wise with the tomato puree, it adds flavour and substance o the finished dish but not as many carbs as a tin of tomatoes would add.

her I have added my frozen oxtail broth,as it cooks it will thaw
so the mince doesnt burn while the stock is thawing add some water,but not so much that it will take hours to boil away, you can always add a bit more it it starts to get too dry and burn on the bottom.
Now you can slice and add your mushrooms and stir them in to soak up the flavours. If you havn’t used frozen stock this will take about 20 minutes from start to finish,frozen will take about 40, but if you have the time the flavour will improve if you let it cook gently for up to an hour. at the end you want to see the meat but not much liquid
Now take your cauliflower and cut away all the green leaves and cut it into even sized chunks,as we are mashing it it doesn’t have to look preety
Cook your cauliflower, I do mine in the microwave, this stops it getting too soggy,which it can do if you boil it as the bottom bits are cooked before the top ones I find, microwave for about 10-15 minutes until they are overcooked and soft enough to mash. If they are a bit hard when you mash them they will be more like cauli rice than mash. When they are soft drain them but keep the water incase you need it for the next bit
to make the mash smooth and yummy we will need,cheese butter and cream
Put the cauliflower pieces in the bowl and add a splosh of bream and a dollop of butter, you may also need a splash of the water you cooked the cauliflower with so keep it back until you are sure you don’t need it any more you shoulds also add some salt

I like to make my mash in a food processor,its easy and takes no time at all and makes very smooth mash, but you can do it in a bowl with a potato masher,or with a hand mixer.

Pulse the cauliflower until smooth
after a few pulses it will look smooth and quite dry you want the same sort of consistency as smooth mash potato,now you can add the cheese and pulse again to mix in
Grate the cheese you will need a couple of generous handfulls and maybe some extra to sprinkle on top.
Layer some meat into your dish and top with the mash, It will be easier if the meat is not too wet, I spoon my mash on in the corners
and then use a fork to join everything up and close the gaps, and make a fork patten on top to get crispy bits.



The great thing about this dish is that at this point you can let it go cold,freeze it or put it straight into the oven. you can put extra grated chees on top if you want to and not if you don’t, cook for 20-25 minute 180degc gas 5 or up to 45 mins from chilled, I would recommend defrosting before cooking.

This mixture made 3 individual portions and one family size one that I froze for another day. so 6-7 generous portions in all.

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