21st Century Cottage Pie

A modern twist on the traditional cottage pie recipe, with porcini mushrooms, and a crumbly parsnip mash topping

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  • Serves 4

  • Prep time 30 mins

  • Cooking time 1 hr 30 mins

  • Total time 2 hrs

  • Skill level Easy

  • Calories 647 per serving

  • Freeze yes
  • Prepare ahead yes


  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) minced beef
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 2tsp tomato purée
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500ml (18fl oz) beef stock
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 x 210g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g (7oz) chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 25g (1oz) porcini mushrooms, soaked in 150ml (0.25 pt) boiling water
For the mash:
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) parsnips, cut into chunks
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 150ml (0.25 pt) milk
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • a little fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 2tbsp breadcrumbs mixed with 2tbsp grated Cheddar
You will need:
  • 1 x 2-litre (3.5 pt) deep, ovenproof baking dish or 4 individual pie dishes


Cottage pie is a much loved mince recipe, but this update version might just become your new favourite.


  1. Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the beef, turn the heat up and cook until the mince is well browned.
  2. Add the flour and tomato purée, stir well. Add the herbs, stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, chestnut mushrooms, and porcinis and soaking water. Season. Leave to cook on a very gentle heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. To prepare the mash, steam the parsnips and potatoes for 20 minutes or until soft. Mash well. Heat the milk and butter; add to the veg. Season well and add the nutmeg.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Place the filling in the base of the dish and cover with the mash. Sprinkle over the cheese and breadcrumbs mix, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling.