Try our gourmet cottage pie recipe

Try our gourmet cottage pie recipe

Well, folks, I guess it’s official: the nights have started drawing in, the streets are lined with crisp gold and red leaves, and Strictly Come Dancing is back on TV. Which means that comfort food season has arrived. (Doesn’t every bit of that sentence make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?)

So in the spirit of warming treats for cold dreich days, I thought I’d revisit an absolute classic: the traditional glorious cottage pie. Well, I say traditional, but this recipe is in fact a posh twist on the regular cottage pie, using shin of Scotch Beef instead of minced meat. I came across this recipe not long ago, and I never plan to make cottage pie any other way now – the succulent flavour and texture of pulled beef shin is infinitely more satisfying. So here is my ultimate gourmet cottage pie recipe.

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For the Braised Shin of Beef & Stock

  • 800g shin of Scotch Beef, de-boned
  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 100g diced onions
  • 100g diced celery
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1L chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper


For the pie

  • 1tbs sunflower oil
  • 100g carrots, diced
  • 100g shallots,
  • 100g leeks, diced
  • 100g celery, diced
  • 2tbs chopped chives and parsley mix
  • 600g cooked creamy mashed potato, still warm


Preheat the oven at 160°C. Start by seasoning the meat with salt and pepper (have some fun and use your hands for this bit!). In a large casserole dish, heat the oil and sear the beef until it turns that lovely golden brown. When you’re finished, set the meat aside.

Now pop the onions, garlic, celery, cloves, thyme and bay leaves in the same casserole dish, and cook until soft (it should take about 8-10 minutes). Add the tomato purée and cook for an extra 2 minutes.

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Let’s get back to that beef now. Add the wine and the beef shin back in the casserole and cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the chicken stock, cover the dish, and let it come to a boil.

Pop the dish in the oven for 3 hours. While all the action is happening in there, I’d normally say that you can get on with the rest of the pie filling and the creamy mash (being the ever-efficient cook that I am). But this time, it’s best to leave that for later. So, really, there is nothing for you to do, apart from keep an eye on it, stir occasionally, and pour yourself a glass of wine. I got a lovely Rioja for this recipe, by the way, which I highly recommend (for both cooking and drinking).

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Once the beef is cooked, let it cool for a wee while, and remove from the casserole. Pass the stock through a sieve and set the liquid aside.

By now you may be getting a little dizzy with all this ‘in-and-out-of-the-casserole-dish’ business, but bear with me, it’s definitely worth it! Now here’s the fun part. Grab two forks and start pulling apart the meat – it’s so tender by this point that it just shreds seamlessly. (It’s impossible to look at this mountain of succulent pulled beef and not feel your mouth water.)

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To finish the pie, preheat the grill. In a large saucepan, cook the veggies until soft and then add the pulled beef.

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Remember that stock you set aside? Now gradually add it in as you stir. Let the whole thing simmer, and then throw in the mixed herbs. As it simmers you can quickly make the creamy mash.

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Now transfer the filling into a pie dish – I used a large pie tray, but you can also use four individual ones. Pipe or spread the hot creamy mash over the top and place under the grill until golden brown. Sprinkle the chives and parsley over the top and… result!

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Tuck in and taste the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Doesn’t cottage pie just make everything that little bit better? No wonder it’s loved by the whole nation. If you have any other cottage pie recipes with a twist, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Happy cooking!

Suzie x

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