Big John’s Cottage pie with “Orange stuff”

This is a midweek meal that i make when I have loads of bits of vegetables to use up and wanted to eat low carb, it turned into my father in law’s favourite dish too, he wouldn’t stay for tea though so I would send him home with one from the freezer! He particularly liked the ” Orange Stuff” on top and used to request it by that name, I think he even wrote it in last years birthday card!

I used to try and sneak as much veg as I could into it to give him lots of goodness as his favourite meal would have been chocolate cake and ice cream!

There are many ways to change this dish, just chuck in or leave out what you want its pretty simple really.


1 packet of minced beef
1 stick of celery chopped – optional
2 carrots
1 large onion
large handful frozen peas
2 Oxo cubes/Stock cubes/ 1stock pot

1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Rosemary
2 tsp Mild Curry powder
5 sweet Potatoes chopped
Half a butternut squash – cubed
Half a swede – Chopped
Grated Cheese.
Dried Polenta ( optional)
1 tbsp cornflour
Brown sauce

You can use anything in your meat mixture though; you can add beans,
lentils, any type of chopped up vegetable. Swede, Parsnip, Broccoli,
peppers, sweetcorn, turnip, mushroom etc. As I said earlier its a good way to use up your leftover veg at the end of the week and get your 5 a day in one meal!

Peel and chop your potatoes Swede and squash and boil in a pan of salted water that covers the potatoes with 2 teaspoons of salt until soft (about 15 – 20 mins)

Chop up your vegetables into diced sized pieces. ( carrot, celery and onion and any other vegetable you may have) Heat a little oil to a frying pan or cast iron pot and add the chopped veg with a pinch of salt. Fry until soft.

Remove these from the pan and add the packet of minced beef. Fry until it is all brown and drain off any fat.

Put the vegetables back into the pan with the meat and add some salt, a tablespoon of cornflour, pepper, herbs  and 2 oxo cubes and a pinch of mild curry powder and fry for 2 minutes. Then add about a pint of boiling water.

Cook this for 2 minutes then turn down to a very low heat for about 15 minutes. If it is not thick enough add some cornflour paste. I add some brown sauce too to give it a zing.. about 3 big squeezes.

Whilst this is cooking, Drain the water from your potatoes and mash them with a bit of butter and salt.

Add the meat mixture into an oven dish and then top it with the mashed potato and drag a fork along the top to make small tufts and sprinkle a little bit of dried polenta ( to give it a crunch) and then cheese on top.

Cook in the oven on 180 degrees until the potato becomes slightly crispy on top. Be careful not to burn the cheese though, if its getting too dark cover loosely with a piece of foil.

Serve with buttered bread and HP Sauce!



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