Cottage pie



1kg floury potatoes
150g butter
Knob of beef dripping (optional)
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
600g shin of beef, chopped into small pieces
350ml good quality beef stock
1 tsp cornflour
Worcestershire sauce


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cut your potatoes into evenly sized chunks, and put in a large pan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat the dripping, if you have any left over from your last roast, or butter in a pan over a moderate heat, then add the vegetables. Soften, but do not brown.
3. Add the thyme, and then the beef. Brown it all over, and then add half the stock. Whisk the other half with the cornflour, and then stir into the meat mixture. Add a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce and allow to simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Drain the potatoes and mash with a generous slab of butter. Season to taste.
5. Taste and season the meat, adding more Worcestershire sauce if necessary. If it looks dry, pour in a little water.
6. Put the meat into a large baking dish and top with the potato. For a nice crispy top, I like to add it in lumps, or you can run a fork over the top if you prefer. Dot with small pieces of butter.
7. Put into the oven for about 40 minutes, until the potato is crisp and slightly brown, then serve.