Here’s a meat-free cottage pie packed full of healthy goodness. Lentils are here used as a great alternative to minced beef and the reduction in protein is made up by the addition of cheddar cheese.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 7 fluid ounces / 200ml passata
- 7 fluid ounces / 200ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon of sundried tomato pesto
- 1 tablespoon of tomato and chilli paste
- few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 x 14-ounce / 400g can lentils
- 1½ lbs / 700g potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3½ ounces / 100g extra mature cheddar, finely grated
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Blitz the onion and celery in a food processor and add to the oil with the carrot. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Mix in the passata, stock, tomato pesto, tomato paste and the leaves from the thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Put the potatoes in a large pan with some salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender enough that they slide off the tip off a knife.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) / 392°F (356°F fan).
Drain the potatoes and in a bowl combine them with 2½ ounces / 75g of the cheddar before putting through a ricer.
Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the cooked vegetables. Add some seasoning, give a good stir and transfer to a baking dish.
Cover with the riced potato, spread over evenly and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 ounce / 25g cheddar.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is starting to go golden.
The term cottage pie first appears in England around 1791 when the potato was introduced as an affordable crop for the poor. In early cookery books, a cottage pie was a means of using up leftovers of any kind of roasted meat topped with potato, and cottage refers to the type of home (i.e. the homes of the poor) where such dishes could be found. The term shepherd’s pie didn’t appear until late Victorian times. In the UK it is synonymous with cottage pie, regardless of the type of meat, but in the USA a shepherd’s pie refers to one specifically made with minced lamb.