Tuesday, 7 September 2010

NBH's Cottage Pie

I love to bake and make appetizers, but I do not cook meat. Yes, you read that right, I do not like cooking meat as I'm vaguely paranoid I will poison someone by not cooking it all the way or it will end up dry and nasty from being overcooked. So when we decided it was time to introduce Blondie Boy to meat, it was NotBlondeHusband's job to do the cooking.

So today's post is a guest post of sorts by my very own NotBlondeHusband:

When introducing meat to BB’s diet, cottage pie seemed like the perfect way to go. It has minced beef but also the more familiar tastes of mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, so it’s not all new.

When I looked for a recipe I found plenty for older babies but, since he’s only just 8 months and has eczema, tomatoes, garlic, fried onions and fresh herbs are no goes right now, so I invented my own. While I was making his it seemed to make sense to make an adult friendly version for us too, so I did. For both I used:

• 500g (17.6 oz) organic minced beef
• 700g (24.7 oz) organic new potatoes, peeled
• 400g (14.1oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
• 1 small carrot, chopped, 4/5 roughly for you, 1/5 finely for the baby
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 small white onion, diced
• 60g (2 oz) frozen peas (roughly, I used a generous handful)
• 1 low salt vegetable stock cube, or approx 400ml of low salt vegetable stock ( I used Heinz baby stock cube)
• 60g (2oz) mashed turnip (What we call turnip in Scotland is called swede in England, or rutabaga in the US. You could substitute butternut squash or any other root vegetable puree if desired, even a pre-packaged one)
• 3-4 tablespoons milk
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Firstly split the minced beef, 4/5 in a large saucepan for the adults, 1/5 in a smaller pan for the baby, and brown it.

Once browned, take the smaller pan off the heat for a moment. To the large pan add the diced onion, then crush and add the clove of garlic. Sautee for a few minutes until the onions are lightly browned.

Make the vegetable stock and add 300ml to the large pot and around 100ml to the small pot, basically just enough to cover the beef. Add the carrots and the peas to both.

Add the tomatoes and herbs to the large pot and season with salt and pepper. Since tomatoes are off the menu for BB I had to find a substitute to thicken and enrich his. We cook and freeze vegetables for BB anyway so I threw in two cubes of frozen mashed turnip, which worked perfectly. As mentioned above I’m sure pre-cooked, store bought vegetable puree would work just as well.

Bring both pots to the boil and simmer uncovered for 35 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter.

Boil the potatoes and drain. No need to split them!

Add the milk and butter and mash. No salt or pepper!

Pour the contents of the two pots into appropriately sized oven proof dishes and cover with a layer of mashed potatoes. If you wanted you could use more milk in the potatoes to make them thinner and easier to spread but I prefer to keep them thicker to make sure it doesn’t seep into the gravy below.

Forget about them! I made mine in the morning and we ate in the evening. They keep fine in the fridge.

Adult version

Baby version

When you’re ready to eat preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Grind sea salt and pepper on top of the adult dish. Cook the adult one for around 30 minutes and the baby one for around fifteen minutes, until you can see the liquid bubbling. I then turned the oven up to 220c (425F) and put the adult one back in for another five minutes because I like the top brown and crispy but this is optional. It has the added benefit of giving the baby version some time to cool.

Enjoy! I found that the adult version was plenty for four good portions. We split the baby version into eight portions, gave BB one and froze the other seven to reheat later.

I think Blondie Boy liked it, what do you think?


sheaintheavy said...

omg, that looks heavenly!

Aitch said...

Looks awesome! And I love that it's suitable for les bebes.


Yum, yum, yum! Love cottage pie! Is this a 'Mum doesn't cook' post? Love it ;) x

Melaina25 said...

Mom bakes, Dad cooks :)