I feel like I shouldn’t be cooking this sort of meal in May. But with all of the cold and rainy weather, it is just what my family have been wanting to eat. This is comfort food at its best – rich and warming. Of course, you could make the filling into one big Cottage Pie and top with regular mashed potato, but this version has a number of advantages. It is quicker and easier to prepare (no peeling potatoes!), there is less washing up, and my kids have always had a liking for dinner that arrives in individual portions. And it’s really convenient when you have someone who needs their dinner a little earlier or later than the rest of the family.
Easy Recipes: Cottage Pie Jackets (Serves 4)
- 4 baking potatoes
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or whatever oil you prefer
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small dice cubes
- 500g beef mince
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 tablespoons tomato puree
- 500ml hot beef stock
- Salt and pepper Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 150g frozen peas
- Grated cheddar (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C(fan)/Gas4. Pierce the potato skins several times with a sharp knife, and put them in the middle of the oven to bake. This will take around 1hr 20mins, and you should turn them over halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, prepare the cottage pie filling. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, and add the chopped onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the diced carrot.
Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent but not browned. Add the beef mince and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When the beef mince has cooked, sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then stir in the tomato puree and beef stock.
Season with salt and pepper – I like to add Worcestershire sauce at this point as well, but that is optional. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and partially cover with a lid. Simmer for around 25 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the frozen peas (feel free to substitute for sweet corn if you prefer), then set the pan aside to cool slightly.
When the jacket potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and cut in half. Scoop out the potato halves, leaving enough in the skin to make a shell suitable for filling. Place the skins in a roasting tin and mash the potato with butter (oil if preferred).
Fill each of the skins with the cottage pie filling, leaving it just below the top of the skin. It’s going to bubble up a little in the oven. Top with the mashed potato, and sprinkle over a little grated cheese if you like. If you are going to be eating this straight away, put the roasting tin back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the filling is hot and the topping crispy.
If you are preparing this ahead to eat later, I would allow it to cool completely and then cover the tin with foil. When you want to reheat, put it in the oven with the foil on for 20 minutes and then remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to crisp up. Make sure it is piping hot before you serve.
I am sure you will agree with me that these Cottage Pie Jackets made by Sally Akins look so tasty and healthy too. We love easy recipes at U, Me and the Kids.