Playing with Shepherds Pie

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This recipe is very general because I made it a few weeks ago and it was one of those I’ll-have-a-go-at-this-and-vaguely-refer-to-a-recipe-but-mostly-just-go-for-it recipes. It worked out pretty well too! Its genesis was due to the fact that I had a packet of mince that needed cooking and some left over cooked cous cous that needed using up. My mum would be proud of me, using up ingredients I already had! Anyhow, it was my first attempt at cottage/shepherds pie and I was really pleased that it was so well received!

Ingredients:
2-3 cups cooked cous cous
500g beef mince
Olive oil for frying
1-2 onions
2 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 cube of oxo beef stock
Worcestershire sauce to taste (1/2 a cap full perhaps … its strong!)
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
400g tin of diced tomatoes
Low fat tasty cheese to sprinkle on top
Optional: you could also add a bay leaf to the mince while its cooking or perhaps some garlic. I didn’t and was still very tasty. It’s a very flexible recipe though!

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
2. Finely dice the onion and celery. Peel and grate the carrot.
3. Heat some oil in a frypan or wok and sauté the onion till clear, add the celery and carrot and sauté till beginning to turn soft. Remove and set aside.
4. Heat a little more oil and add the beef mince to the pan, brown. Add the vegetables, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomatoes. Cook till mince is cooked through. Check flavours (if too salty/strong, try to add more vegetables, if too mild add more tomato paste or stock or sauce).
5. Place mince in a baking dish and then crumble the cous cous over it (I did one layer, then sprinkled some cheese, and then another layer and then sprinkled more cheese … I would recommend this method!).
6. Bake till cheese has melted and turned a golden colour.
7. Serve with salad or steamed green vegetables.

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