Cottage pie

A very definite comfort food meal tonight.

I’ve always thought that shepherd’s pie was lamb and cottage pie was beef, so this was definitely of the cottage variety.

I sautéed sliced leeks with diced carrots and celery, plus chopped parsley stalks until soft and then added in some beef mince and cooked it until it took up some colour. I added a tablespoon of flour and cooked that in, then added in some previously soaked and chopped porcini pieces with their soaking water. I decided that the filling needed bulking out, so I added some brown lentils. They are a good way of bulking up cottage pies, because they absorb the flavours, cook down and help thicken the finished filling.

Then, when the flour was nicely mixed in and the mushroom water absorbed, I seasoned with salt and pepper, added some beef stock cooked everything for about 45 minutes, making sure that it didn’t get too dry.

The topping was mashed potatoes and parsnips mixed together with some grated Red Leicester cheese.

I baked it in the oven until the top was nice and browned and served it with some buttered cabbage.

You could drink pretty much anything red with a cottage pie; we had a bottle of 2008 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blason des Papes from the reliable Cellier des Dauphins that was one of a half-dozen we bought last year in Waitrose. It is a pretty nice wine, not one of the great Châteauneuf wines that are made to keep for years but a good forward wine with plenty of bramble fruit and a nice peppery spiciness. I see that Waitrose is currently listing the 2009 vintage. I’d say that it is well worth buying a half-dozen for drinking over the next few months.

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