Friday, December 18, 2009

Le Creuset Giveaway - and Luxury Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is a great dish for this time of year, not least of all because you can make it ahead and reheat it. I often make two at a time and freeze one so I have a delicious and easy meal tucked away for busy days. I make lots of different variations on my recipe, but this version is just that little bit extra-special as it contains Madeira, a fortified wine. One of my favourite casserole dishes to use for my Cottage Pies is my Le Creuset oval casserole dish pictured above. It’s a brilliant oven to tableware dish that is also fridge and freezer safe. I own a number of Le Creuset products and they are a brand I trust and use regularly. And the great news is that the generous folks at

have offered to send one of these very useful Le Creuset oval casserole dishes to a reader in the United States or Canada. (Sadly they only ship to North American addresses.) If you click here you can see a Le Creuset dish like the one are giving away. In return they have asked me to mention their new line of Paula Deen Cookware, which looks really interesting. I saw Paula’s products at her very famous shop in Savannah and they were definitely very covetable! For a chance to win the Le Creuset dish, send an email to with the words “Le Creuset Giveaway” in the subject line and I will enter you into the draw - closing date is Sunday 10th January. Remember you have to have an address in the continental US or Canada to enter as the prize is being shipped direct from*.

Here is the cottage pie I made the other night, with its lovely gravy peeking up around the edges:-

and here is the recipe!

The 21st Century Housewife’s© Luxury Cottage Pie
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 pound of ground beef
1 generous tablespoon flour
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
3 parsnips, peeled and cut in chunks
(if you don’t like parsnips, just use an extra potato)
3 tablespoons butter
about 1/4 to 1/2 cup light cream or half and half
about 1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Madeira (or dry sherry if you do not have any Madeira to hand)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and sauté the onions gently over low heat until they are beginning to soften. Add the beef. Break up any large chunks with a spatula or spoon and brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes and parsnips in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for about ten minutes until the potatoes and parsnips have softened. Drain and return to the saucepan. Mash with the butter. Add the cream gradually, continuing to mash, until the potatoes and parsnips are moistened, but still have a fairly firm consistency. Cover and set aside.

When the beef is nearly cooked through, sprinkle with the flour and stir it through. Allow to cook for about a minute. Gradually add the stock, a bit at a time, stirring after each addition. Add the ketchup, Madeira and Worcestershire sauce and stir in. Bring to the boil, and allow to bubble away merrily for about five minutes so the gravy can reduce a bit, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn’t stick. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture appears to thick, add a bit more stock, but be careful not to add too much.

Put the beef mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish. Carefully dollop the potato and parsnip mixture on top with a spoon. Gently spread the mixture over the beef using a fork, covering it right up to the edges. (The Shepherd’s Pie can be cooled at this point and refrigerated or frozen for another day.)

Bake the Cottage Pie at 350℉ or 175℃ for about 20 minutes or until the potato is beginning to turn golden. (If you have made the pie a day or so earlier and taken it from the fridge, you will need to heat it at about 375℉ or 190℃ for about 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then cook as for from the fridge.

Incidentally, if you are wondering why this is called Cottage Pie and not Shepherd’s Pie it is because Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. And yes, there is absolutely no reason why you could not use ground lamb in this recipe and call it Shepherd’s Pie :)

I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about my very own Night At The Museum! Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

* have not reimbursed me for this post in any way, except for providing the Le Creuset dish for the giveaway, which will be shipped to the winner directly from them.