Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mediterranean Makeover Cottage Pie

This is a twist on the classic comfort dish, cottage pie. Aside from giving it a sweet potato lid topped with a combination of Cheddar and crumbled feta cheese, the filling has been given a tomatoey Mediterranean makeover too.

Not only is this a delicious alternative to a family classic for the grown ups and any older children, but made as it is here without salt, it's a great weaning dish once little one is past the six month mark and certainly went down well with our little Bridget.

The addition of cinnamon to the browned steak mince gives a lovely delicate flavour and it works well served with salad or as I have done here with Lemon & Chilli Brocolli Spears (simply blanch, drain and roast with a drizzle of oil, garlic, lemon zest, chopped chillies) and topped with a single 1cm square of feta crumbled over.

The below gives three adult sized portions or two plus 3-4 weaning portions. 

2 large sweet potatoes
20g Cheddar or alternative hard cheese
50g feta cheese
200g lean steak mince
1 red onion
1 courgette
1 carrot
50g mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 tin of chopped tomatoes or jar of passata
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil

Firstly pop the oven on and place the two whole sweet potatoes in to bake. You could of course peel, chop and boil to create mash, but as you'd need to pre-heat the oven anyway, this way saves you using another saucepan.

Next add the olive oil to the pan and place on a low heat.

Finely dice the onion and crush the garlic and add to the pan.

Peel and dice the carrot and add this to the pan too and allow to soften.

In the meantime, dice the courgette and slice the mushrooms too.

Once the carrot, onion and garlic are softened, add the steak mince and brown off. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to move around and break up so it doesn't all stick together in a nasty clump.

Once browned all over, add the pepper and cinnamon and allow to cook through for a further couple of minutes.

Add the courgette and mushrooms, the tin of tomatoes and the oregano and stir through. Leave cooking for as long the potatoes take to be soft centred.

Once the potatoes are ready, remove from the oven, slice open and scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Use a fork to gently mash, although this shouldn't be too laborious as the flesh should be very soft and smooth.

Transfer the meat and sauce into an ovenproof dish and then evenly top with the sweet potato. 

Grate over the little bit of Cheddar or other hard cheese and then crumble over the feta into uneven pieces - which will result in some being meltingly oozing and others caramelised - in short, a deliciously contrasting topping.

Pop the dish onto a baking sheet and then place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top has started to brown.

Remove from the oven, allow to stand for a few minutes, then dish up and enjoy. 

When serving as a weaning dish, I don't mash this up as it is a fairly soft consistency anyway and my seven and a half month old copes just fine with the texture, but if you prefer to blitz in a blender or hand-mash then do so and of course allow to cool down enough before serving to baby.

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