Earthy. That’s what this is. Earthy. Perfect mid week winter meal. If this dinner was an animal it would be a mole. Or maybe a worm. No, not a worm, that’s some kind of a spaghetti dish. A mole. A badger! That’s it! A badger of a dish, without the stripes. It’s not a traditional cottage pie as I’ve used a extra lean minced pork instead of beef, but I don’t think there’s any flavour lost and it’s healthier too (a bit). Quantities are rough so add as much or as little of each ingredient as you want. It fed me and Dave and gave us seconds and I have two further portions now in the freezer for lunch this week, so this is perfect for a family meal. You need:
- Some potatoes (around four)
- Parsnips (2)
- 1 pack of lean minced pork
- An onion, finely chopped
- 2, maybe 3 carrots, cubed
- ½ punnet of mushrooms, cubed
- 1tsb sweet smoked paprika
- Tin of chopped tomatoes
- handful Brussels sprouts, shredded
- handful of grated Cheddar cheese
- slice of bread
Chop up your potatoes and parsnips and pop them in a pan to boil.
In a pan you can later put into the oven, soften the onions in a bit of oil. Add your pork and brown and then add the carrots, mushrooms and paprika.
Ah, sweet smoked paprika! You are truly one of the finest spices.
Add the tin of tomatoes and a splash of water and let it all bubble away for a while.
In the meantime, your potatoes and parsnips should be soft so mash them up with a bit of butter, salt, pepper and the handful of grated cheese.
Do you have a slice of bread? Make some breadcrumbs with it.
I used a slice of seeded loaf because that’s what I like to eat as toast and the seeds add an extra texture to the crumb, but you can use any bread you like. If you have some packet breadcrumbs you can use that too or you could leave this section out completely.
But if you have a mini food processor (or a big one for that matter), it’s worth doing. Not only does the crumb add an extra dimension to this dish, breadcrumbs are useful for loads of things! Like making stuffings, or croquettes, or fish cakes or even bread sauce! Imagine! Breadcrumbs freeze really well too so you can make a batch of it (and when I say a batch I mean a quarter of a slightly stale loaf) and it’ll last you an age, unless you *really* like bread sauce.
Anyway, I digress.
We are almost ready to assemble our pie. But first, take your meat mixture off the heat and stir in the sprouts.
Then put the mash on top of the meat. The fancy and easiest way to do this is to pipe it on, but I was lazy so i used the messy and awkward way which was to plop the potatoes and parsnips (pastatoes?) in blobs all around the dish and then smooth everything over with a fork.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs in a thin layer over the top and if you’re feeling saucy a little bit of cheese too and pop into a hot oven (round 200°C) until the top is brown and crispy.