It’s time to get back to comfort food.
We were watching Master Chef NZ the other night, and the contestants had to make their ” Last Supper”. They were asked to make a dish that they would eat if it was their ” last day on earth”. It created a discussion in our house, as to what we would choose for our last dish to eat. My 17 year old daughter, had no real favourite meal, but I’m sure it would include chocolate brownie. My husband, who hates to cook, said he would love sausages and gravy with mashed spuds. This is the first meal he cooked for me, early in our relationship, and it made of love. For me, my last dish would be hard to decide. Roast chicken, with mixed roasted vegetables or Roast loin of pork, with apple sauce, crispy roast potatoes. So many choices, so how do we decide what to cook for dinner each night?
The menu planned is still to be reactivated, so yesterday I had to rely on freezer supplies. I took some lamb mince out of the freezer, and initially I thought I would cook it with some spices, and serve with salad ingredients in tortillas. Easy and fresh flavours. However, there was a change in the air. The drought that has affected all of New Zealand, was broken on Sunday, and finally some rain arrived. The rain has then been followed by a slight chill in the air, and the hint of things to come. I found a recipe for Cottage Pie, made with lamb mince. It seemed to suit what my husband would love to eat, and also the change in the weather.
So this is what I made for dinner last night, it takes about 35 minutes to prepare, and 30 minutes to cook. It is ideal to make ahead, and then can be reheated and served at at time convenient to the eater! This is great when you have a busy house where people are coming and going! I loved the flavour of the parsnip, and the chutney I used, gave it a slight “sweet” flavour. To finish I served the pie with the peas. This was definitely a hit with the family.
The recipe is from the “Beef + Lamb” NZ website. There is a video link to a demonstration by Allyson Gofton.
1 kg floury potatoes, peeled
3-4 tbsp milk
1 cup grated cheddar-style cheese
400 – 450 g lean Quality Mark beef or lamb mince
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 parsnip or carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 tbsp flour
400g can baked beans
½ cup beef stock, wine or water
½ cup good quality chutney
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash with the milk and half the cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper.
While the potatoes are cooking, brown the mince in a dash of oil in a hot frying pan. Keep the temperature high so the meat browns and does not stew. This will be best done in 2-3 batches. Set aside.
Add the onion, parsnip or carrot to the pan and gently simmer until onion is soft.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the baked beans and stock, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.
Return the mince to the pan with the chutney, rosemary or parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Turn cooked ingredients into an oven-proof dish and cover with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until or golden and hot.
Lovely golden top to your pie. I’ve always been interested in last meals. Generally people pick the most comforting food to them, something they grew up with or specific to a memory or better time in their life. No one ever picks “bucket list” items.