Let me set the scene for you. It’s 6pm on a Friday night in the middle of Winter. You’ve just arrived home after being away for work for 2 days. The inevitable is waiting for you as you walk in the door, luggage in hand. It’s cold, it’s dark, the house is a mess, you’re tired and need a glass of wine, stat….. but still the question is posed.
“What’s for dinner?”
Of course no one has done any shopping while you’ve been away, so while it would be awesome to come home to this…..
Instead you open the fridge with trepidation and discover a range of limp, half dead vegetables languishing at the bottom of your crisper and some mince, which has a use by date of yesterday, but hey it hasn’t been opened yet, so it should (fingers crossed) be fine.
Really any old vegetables will do, but I tend to find the following at the bottom of my crisper: celery, carrot, zucchini, leek or onion and garlic. Dice them all up, no need to spend too much time on this, just so they are all roughly the same size.
I also throw in some frozen peas and of course you will need potatoes, milk, cream and butter for the mash. Stock, mince, tin of tomatoes (optional), white wine and herbs, dried or fresh, whatever you’ve got, but I quite like a bit of dried oregano and parsley. EVOO and S&P.
Cooking (like you can be bothered….):
Peel your potatoes, cover them with cold water, add lots of salt and bring to the boil and simmer until tender and ready for mashing.
Preheat the oven to 180. In a large fry pan, add a glug of EVOO and sauté your veggies till they are soft and translucent. Add the mince (I tend to always use a blend of pork and veal instead of beef, but any red meat mince would be fin), dried or fresh herbs, season well and brown.
Add the white wine and reduce. Add the tinned toms, stock (I use beef, but chicken would also be fine) and simmer for 15 minutes or so till there is just enough liquid left to keep the pie moist in the oven without it being too sloppy.
Drain and mash your potatoes adding as much milk / cream / butter as your diet allows and plenty of salt.
Pour the pie mixture into a big dish, cover it with a thick layer of mash and dot the top with dobs of butter.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes till topping is crisp and brown.
Stand in the kitchen and yell, “Dinner is READY!” and pour yourself a large glass of Tulloch Cab Sav to match.