- 3 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 1¼kg beef mince
- 2 onions, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 carrots, chopped
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- large glass red wine (optional)
- 850ml beef stock
- 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- few thyme sprigs
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 2 bay leaves
For the mash
- 1.8kg potatoes, chopped
The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…
- 225ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 25g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 200g strong cheddar, grated
Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…
- freshly grated nutmeg
One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury…
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry 1¼ kg beef mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns.
Put the other 2 tbsp olive oil into the pan, add 2 finely chopped onions, 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery sticks and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins.
Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 3 tbsp plain flour and 1 tbsp tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan.
Pour over a large glass of red wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the 850ml beef stock, 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, a few thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves.
Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the 1.8kg potatoes which you've peeled and chopped, in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the 225ml milk, 25g butter, and three-quarters of the 200g strong cheddar cheese, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
Spoon the meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.
If you want to use a slow cooker, brown your mince in batches then tip into your slow cooker and stir in the vegetables, flour, purée, wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs with some seasoning. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours. Make the mash following the previous steps, and then oven cook in the same way to finish.
Our top tipsTo get really smooth, creamy mash, use a potato ricer or sieve. To stop the mash sinking into the filling, allow the meat to cool before topping with the mashed potato. Freeze in individual ovenproof dishes for an easy meal for one. For a really crisp, golden topping, flash under the grill for a few mins before serving.
Foolproof freezingMake sure the pie is completely cold, then cover it well with cling film and freeze. Always freeze the pie on the day that you make it. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then cook as per the recipe. Alternatively, to cook from frozen, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4, cover with foil and cook for 1½ hrs. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7, uncover and cook for 20 mins more, until golden and bubbling.