Cottage Pie with a Cauliflower Mash Topping

As a child cottage pie was my favourite dinner apart from roast lamb. I wanted to spruce it up a bit so I added some wild mushrooms, fresh herbs and marmite. As cauliflower is in season now I decided to have a go at making mash, it worked a treat I actually preferred it on this dish more than mashed potatoes. There was so much flavour in this rich beef topped off with smooth and creamy cauliflower mash.


For the Mince
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 40g wild mushrooms, I used hedgehog but any mushrooms will work roughly torn
  • 1 tbsp sun dried tomato purée
  • 400ml good quality beef stock
  • Sprig of rosemary and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • Splash Worcester sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 anchovies, chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper
  • Oil for frying
For the Cauliflower Mash
  • 1 head cauliflower, florets only
  • 25g butter
  • 3 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp mustard or horseradish
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper


For the Mince
  1. Heat a drizzle of oil to a frying pan that has a lid. Add the mince and cook until browned all over. Drain and set aside. I use a sieve.
  2. Add another splash of oil to the same pan. Add the onions and mushrooms, cook until the onions are translucent, mine took about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato purée.
  3. Put the mince back in the pan and pour in the stock. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, marmite, Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup and anchovies.
  4. Bring to the boil, put the lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes. I cooked mine for an hour. Once cooked remove the herbs and have a taste and season to your liking.
For the Cauliflower Mash
  1. Steam the cauliflower florets, I steamed mine in the microwave for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cooked florets into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until nice and smooth.

To assemble – Preheat oven to 200 degrees fan. In an ovenproof dish, spoon in the cooked mince. Dollop over the cauliflower mash. Using a fork smooth out the mash and leave fork incisions so you get crispy bits. Add knobs of butter if you want to and bake for around 30 minutes or until it’s bubbling and browned on the top.

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