Apologies again for the slight delay in the posting of this, but I'm going to blame the snow which distracted me all week and weekend forcing to make comfort food in large amounts. Dishes like this shepherd's pie. I'm going to refer to this recipe as shepherd's pie, but you can use beef mince instead of lamb mince, and then it's called cottage pie. I hope you enjoy it.
First off, preheat the oven to 200°C. The next thing to do is prepare the potatoes and get them ready for boiling, while they're cooking you can prepare the rest of the ingredients and then everything should be ready at the same time when you want to assemble the pie and put it in the oven.
First peel the potatoes, and cut down to manageable sized pieces. I would generally cut large potatoes at least in to halves, if not into thirds.
Next, put them into a large pot and cover in cold water. Once they come to a boil, reduce the heat so that they're simmering. They should be ready in 20 minutes from this point.
While the potatoes are cooking, it's time to prepare the other ingredients. First chop the onion and finely as you can, crush the garlic and leave both to one side. Then peel the carrots and finely chop. If the carrots are quite fresh, a scrub with a hard bristled brush, such as a nail brush, will suffice instead of peeling.
Heat some vegetable oil in the frying pan over a medium hot hob and add the garlic and onion. When the onion has softened and turned slightly translucent add the lamb mince, brown thoroughly, then crumble in the beef stock cube.
Next add the carrots, peas and enough water to make a gravy like consistency. Don't worry about adding too much water as it's better if it's a little too wet than too dry as the potato will absorb some of the liquid later.
Now comes the seasoning, add Worcestershire sauce, herbs, salt and pepper to the mince mix, tasting as you go.
Once you're happy with the taste combination, pour the mince mixture into the oven-proof dish. At this point you can add a little more water if you think that the mixture needs it.
Now back to the potatoes. To check that they're properly cooked through, stick a knife in them and if there is no resistance then they are good to go. Drain the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and add the butter. Start mashing. If the potato seems a little crumbly, add a splash of milk to make to it cohere.
When you have a nice smooth consistency of mash, put a lump of it on top of the mince and start to spread out with a fork. Continue doing this until all the mince has been covered over.
Once the pie is complete, sprinkle the cheese over top and place into the oven to cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese/potato is golden brown.
Once the pie comes out of oven serve immediately with a side salad or just on its own. This is also really good to heat up the next day for lunch. Let me know if you make it and how you get on or if you have any questions.