Thursday, 13 November 2014


I was just going to call this a veggie shepherds pie but then I realised that as its meat free you could call it a cottage pie too. Either way you look at it, this winter classic of an array of vegetables simmered in a herby vegetable stock and covered with lashings of cheesy mash is the perfect comfort food meal now that the chilly evenings are drawing in. Best of all, finish it off with a flash grill to create those fantastic cheesy crispy bits of mash that you will all be fighting for come dinner time.

A Cottshep pie, in my opinion needs to be filled with hearty winter veg. So whilst my recipe has carrots, celery, mushroom and onions in it, I think parsnips and swede would also make welcome addition and not just to the filling but mashed through the potato topping too. If you have any lying around why not throw them in too. You want to have a nice floury potato for the best mash too.

If you have read any of my previous recipes you will know I don't need an excuse to add chili into a recipe and even a Cottshep pie can't escape them. It adds an additional layer of winter warmth to the pie but once again if your not a chili fan, leave them out. 

For your cheese use anything you like to fold through your potatoes. I like Parmesan for its sharp taste and it melts really easily into the mash too but a Cheddar or even a mozzarella would work as well. If your trying to watch your calories leave the cheese out as it's not necessary. I just like to add it in for that extra layer of comforty goodness.

Recipe below will be enough for 4 or 2 very hungry bellies. If making for more simply double up on your quantities but stick to one large potato per two people.

Veggie Cottshep Pie

2 Chopped Red Onions
2 Grated Garlic Cloves
1 Finely Chopped Red Chili
2 Peeled and Chopped Large Carrots
1 Chopped Celery Stalk
Large Hand full Of Chopped Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Dried Italian Herbs
1 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
2 Bay Leaves
Approximately 400ml Veggie Stock
2 Large Potatoes
50g Butter
50ml Milk
100g Parmesan 

  1. In large oiled pan on a medium heat, throw in the onion, garlic and chili and fry for a minute before adding in the carrots and celery and continue to fry until the onions start to soften. Finally, add the mushrooms and fry until they begin to just soften slightly.
  2. Add the herbs, Worcester sauce, tomato sauce and bay leaves and pour over enough stock to just cover everything in the pan. Give everything a good mix. Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Oven on time! Turn it on too 180 degrees (160 fan).
  4. Whilst the sauce simmers, cut the potatoes into chunks and boil in salted water until soft and mashable. I don't peel them as I like the skins but do peel if your not a fan.
  5. Once boiled, drain the water and put the potatoes back in the boiling pan on a low heat and add in the butter, milk and 50g of the cheese and mash, beat, pound, do whatever you like to form a smooth mash potato. Remove from the heat.
  6. Once the filling has simmered, transfer it to an oven proof casserole dish and spoon over the mash. Grate over the rest of the cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. After the bake, flip your oven over to grill on a high heat. Keep your eye on the pie and remove from the oven when the topping is golden brown and crispy.

Remove your pie from the oven and leave to stand for five minutes before serving. Plunge a spatula through the crispy mash and spoon your portions out and serve with some pickled red cabbage or a dollop of piccalilli and tuck in.

A great traditional homely meal that will warm you too the very core. Don't forget those crispy bits too.

It's what a Cottshep pie was invented for!

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