I haven’t forgotten that, in last year’s Oscars post, I promised you my recipe for mini cottage pies so, only a year later, here it is!
I first encountered mini cottage pies at a friend’s wedding and they were the most amazing bitesize food I’d ever tasted. I knew the Oscar’s party was the perfect opportunity to recreate my own version and they were a huge success. Cottage pie (often referred to as Shepherd’s pie, though that is technically the lamb version) is a simple enough dish that I’ve been cooking for years so the only challenge really is fiddling around with miniature versions.
Normally, cottage pie has no base, just a meat and gravy mixture topped with mashed potato. However, there’s no way you could serve that any way other than on a plate with a knife and fork, dished up with a giant spoon. To allow for individual-sized versions we just add a layer of shortcrust pastry on the bottom, making them more like a cross between a minced-beef pie and a cottage pie (and sadly no longer gluten-free).
You’ll want to start by cooking up the filling for my beef & onion pie, I recommend leaving out the optional extra vegetables for these mini versions though.
You’ll also need:
- 6 oz shortcrust pastry
- 1 potato
- 1 oz butter
- mini-muffin tin
Set some water on to boil and peel and chop your potato, the smaller you chop it the quicker it’ll cook. Boil the potato until fully cooked (overcooked is fine) then drain off the water and mash with the butter.
Roll out your pastry. Even if you buy pre-rolled pastry you’ll want to roll it even thinner because it needs to be really, really thin (about 2mm). Use a cookie cutter a little bigger than each well in your mini-muffin tin to cut circles out of your pastry. Grease your tray and preheat your oven to about 400F or whatever your pastry packet says. Push your pastry circles into the tray and then spoon the meat filling into each well. Top with a little spoonful of the mashed potato and bake until the pastry is cooked (about 15 minutes). 1 mini-muffin tin is not nearly enough for an entire batch so you’ll have to wait for the pies to be cool enough to remove and then make up a new batch ready for baking, unless you want to buy a few more trays!
The pies themselves do freeze fairly well after they’ve been cooked so you can prepare them in advance. When you’re ready to eat them, defrost them overnight in the fridge and then bake at 350F for about 10 minutes until they’re hot all the way through. The 2nd time around they’ll hold their shape so you can bake them on a regular baking sheet in a bigger batch.