A Slightly Posher Cottage Pie
- 450 g lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 240 g whole peeled canned tomatoes
- 140 g tinned sweetcorn
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 beef stock cube
- 150 ml armagnac
- 100 ml red wine
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 12 teaspoon fennel seed
- 900 g floury potatoes, peeled
- 1 medium leek, washed and sliced
- 100 g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- 50 g butter
- 6 slices serrano ham, roughly torn into strips
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and simmer for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the minced beef, breaking up any chunks, and cook until well browned.
- Add tomatoes, breaking up into smaller pieces, tomato puree, stock cube, herbs and spices and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the Armagnac (you can flame it if you wish, but this isn't necessary as the alcohol will boil off anyhow) and the red wine.
- Simmer for a further 10 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Meanwhile, cut potatoes into approx 1.5inch cubes and place in a pan of salted cold water.
- Place the pan, covered, over a high heat until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Once potatoes are tender, drain and cover with a teatowel for several minutes.
- Add the butter to the potatoes (NO MILK!)
- and use an electric whisk to mash them.
- Try to leave a bit of body for texture, rather than making them completely smooth.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if required.
- Place the cooked meat in an ovenproof dish and cover completely with the potato.
- Sprinkle the leeks over the potato and cover with the cheese.
- Finally, lay the strips of serrano over the top and place in a preheated oven (200C) for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden, and the serrano has gone crispy.
- Serve with warm country bread.