1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves , minced
1 onion , finely chopped
1 carrot , finely chopped*
1 celery , finely chopped*
750g beef mince (ground beef)
1/4 cup (40g) flour (plain / all purpose)
1/4 cup (55g) tomato paste
2 cups (500 ml) beef stock / broth , low sodium
1/2 cup (125 ml) red wine (or water)
1 beef bouillon cube , crumbled (stock cube, or 1 tsp stock powder)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried thyme (or 3 sprigs fresh thyme)
2 dried bay leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1.2 kg / 2.5 lb potatoes , peeled and cut into 2.5cm / 1″ cubes
2/3 cup (165 ml) milk , warmed
2 tbsp (30g) butter
PARMESAN CRUST (OPTIONAL)
2 tbsp (30g) butter
2 tbsp (20g) parmesan, grated
1. Filling thickens – Whatever the thickness of the sauce when you pour it into the tin, that’s what it will be once baked – no steam escapes while baking to allow it to reduce any further. So keep cooking until it’s the consistency you want.
2. Cooling the filling ensures that the potato doesn’t sink into the filling and makes it much easier to spread. If you are in a rush – as I often am – pop it in the freezer while you make the potato. That works pretty well.
3. Watery potatoes drops excess liquid while baking into the filling which makes the sauce watery. So don’t skip the step of steam drying the potatoes!
Also, make sure the mash is hot when spreading onto the pie. Cold mash is hard and so it is harder to dollop / spread onto the pie.
4. Variations: If I’m making this for company or am on a calorie-blow-out mission, I add a big handful of cheese into the potato and also top with more cheese before baking. It doesn’t need it, it’s a bonus.
For the filling, sometimes I add peas, or I reduce the amount of beef and add chopped veggies like zucchini.
5. Make ahead instructions: Assemble pie but don’t bake it. Cool mashed potato topping then either refrigerate (4 days) or freeze (3 months).
Thaw if frozen (it will take way too long to bake from frozen) then bake as per recipe. Or bake from frozen – covered at 180°C/350°for 45 minutes, then 30 minutes uncovered.
Can also do individual servings in ramekins!