Does anyone else remember when a Tuesday just used to be a Tuesday? Or when a random week during March was just that? These days though, it seems like every day, week and month has been claimed by an organisation to promote, raise awareness or celebrate something different. Whilst the majority of these things pass by without incident, some of them grab my attention like a toddler headbutt to the groin. One such event is happening right now – British Pie Week.
Running from 6th to 12th March, this is a whole week devoted to the foodie masterpiece known as the pie. As a Northerner who stereotypically loves a pie, this is definitely my type of week. At Uni, I’d regularly eat tinned pies for tea, and after a night out I’d often choose a pie and chips as my drunken, late night feast. Who wants a scabby kebab when you can have a warm, rich filling of loveliness enclosed within a fluffy, flaky pastry?
Whilst I was happy to play an active role in British Pie Week by eating a variety of pastry-based meals during the week, Iceland had a challenge for me. Using their range of frozen meats and other ingredients available in the supermarket, they tasked me with creating and sharing my own pie recipe. I was HUMBLED to have a SLICE of the action with my PIE-oneering recipe…
Deciding on what pie to make was the hardest part of the challenge. After careful deliberation, I decided to go with a variation on the traditional cottage pie. My tweaks probably mean that it should be called something other than a cottage pie, but I reckon it’s close enough to keep the name. The difference though is that (1) It’s more toddler-friendly, by which I mean it’s got extra veg, no red wine and no added salt, and (2) certain ingredients have been upgraded to make it posher, or as the TV chef’s call it, “luxurious”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cottage pie and don’t wish to dis a classic. However, mince isn’t my favourite meat so I often use better quality substitutes when making family meals. In this particular cottage pie recipe, I replaced the beef mince with diced beef steak, plus threw in a bit of chorizo – which we all know is the meat of kings – and used the slow cooker to make everything really tender and tasty. I also tinkered with the traditional mash topping by making this a mixture of white and sweet potatoes for a different flavour.
As this was a recipe in collaboration with Iceland and the #PowerOfFrozen, I used multiple frozen products, including diced beef steak, onions and mixed veg. For a recipe like this, I find using frozen ingredients is actually better than fresh as it’s more convenient and better value for money. For example, you can buy in bulk, only use what you need, cook things from frozen and not worry about food going off – all whilst retaining flavour, quality and taste.
Below you’ll find my British Pie Week recipe for ‘posh’ cottage pie, perfect for a family of four – or, in our case, two hungry adults and a toddler over lunch and dinner!
For The Cottage Pie Filling:
- 400g Frozen diced beef steak
- 100g Chorizo sausage
- 100ml Beef stock
- 100g Frozen diced onion
- 100g Frozen mixed veg
- 1 tbsp HP sauce
- 2 tbsp Tomato puree
- (If required) Flour to thicken
For The Cottage Pie Topping:
- 500g Sweet potatoes
- 300g White potatoes
- 2 tbsp Crème fraîche (or butter and milk)
- 100g Grated mature cheddar cheese
1) Put the frozen diced beef steak into a slow cooker and cook on a medium setting for two hours.
2) Cut the chorizo into 2cm slices and add to the pot, along with the beef stock, HP sauce and tomato puree. Stir and cook on a medium setting for four more hours.
3) Add the frozen onions and frozen vegetables to the pot and cook for a further two hours.
(As a general rule, you can’t overcook the meat – the longer it’s in the slow cooker, the more tender it will be. I cooked this for eight hours, however I’d say you should be looking at 5 hours minimum. The frozen veg was added closer to the end so that it didn’t turn too mushy, however if you’re going out, you could always throw everything in together at the start and combine steps 1-3).
4) Cut the potatoes into quarters (no need to peel) and place in a pan of boiling water. Turn down to a simmer and cook the potatoes for approx. 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
5) Drain the potatoes and mash – either by hand or with a stand mixer. Add the crème fraîche and cheese, then mix together.
6) Return to the slow cooker and stir. If the filling is too liquid, add a bit of flour and stir until the mixture has thickened.
7) Spoon the filling into a pie dish.
8) Spoon the mash on top of the filling and level with a fork.
9) Place the pie dish under the grill for a few minutes until the mash has browned and crisped.
1o) Serve, eat and enjoy the cottage pie. Here, I served with Iceland’s microwave from frozen chantenay carrots, sugar snap peas, romanesco and red onion.
That’s my ‘posh’ cottage pie recipe – pretty tasty looking, eh?! What’s your favourite pie? Will you be partaking in British Pie Week? Let me know below!
N.B. This is a commissioned post written in collaboration with Iceland.