Cottage Pie (Low Carb)

Cottage Pie (low carb)

Not a very exciting recipe today. The best enticement I can use is to call it low carb (not a potato in sight), and maybe a fusion approach. Fusionistas will scoff at my replacement of worcestershire with oyster sauce and soy sauce and my attempt at calling it fusion but hey, if it saves you from another bottle of sauce in the pantry, I am all for it.

I don’t like worcestershire sauce. I don’t know what flavour profile it is supposed to have. Never have I eaten something and thought, hmmm I really need to add some worcestershire sauce to this. When I taste it, I taste a musky less sweet version of balsamic vinegar with hints of soy sauce. No surprise given worcestershire is basically malt vinegar, tamarind and anchovies with some added spices, and sometimes, even soy sauce. When you add it to a dish, it disappears into the dish. What it does do is amp up the flavour profile of whatever you are cooking and I am of the feeling that if I want to amp up the flavour and give more depth and umami to the dish I am cooking, I can do that with the 5 types of soy sauce I have in my pantry at any one time. I certainly do not need another bottle of something that I use twice a year and always expires with the bottle 3/4 full. This is not a recommendation to go out and buy 5 types of soy sauce. You should have 1 bottle of soy sauce in your pantry as a bare minimum and some oyster sauce if you like to do stir fries. It is about re-using and re-purposing.

This recipe uses no potatoes (carb lovers look away or sub my cauliflower with 3 medium potatoes) and utilises half a cauliflower instead for creamy mashed goodness. There is no hint of cauliflower as Bob (who thoroughly dislikes cauliflower) can attest to. The cauliflower is flavoured with Parmesan and you can guarantee the flavour of cheese reigns supreme in this mash. Dislike Parmesan? Sub with a mild cheese or cream cheese. There are also very few vegetables (the exception is 1 carrot) in the beef topping because I feel that if I am already eating cauliflower, I do not need any mushy and slimy peas in my pie. However, feel free to add half a bag of mixed veggies if you wish (you will need to multiply all the ingredients below by a factor of 1.5)

Ingredients

Serves 4 with greens/ side salad

  • 500g beef mince
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2-4 tbsp tomato paste (depends on how tomato-ey you like it)
  • 2 tbsp soy
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (or sub with 1 extra tbsp of soy if you dont have it)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme or Italian herb mix
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp beef stock powder (optional)
  • 1 cup water or beef stock
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • half a head of a medium cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt or sour cream or cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or sub with cheddar cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste

To serve

  • bunch of broccolini or green beans
  • grated Parmesan
  • garlic oil (finely chopped garlic lightly fried in oil)

Tools

  • potato masher or stick blender
  • 7 x 9 inch baking dish/ tin (or equivalent with same area of roughly 63 in²)

Method

  1. Heat oil in a fry pan on medium heat and fry onions for 3 mins. Add garlic and fry for another 1 min, then add carrots.
  2. Mix well then beef mince and fry for 4-5 mins, breaking mince up with spatula until it is browned.
  3. Add plain flour and mix well, then add stock powder, bay leaves, dried herbs, tomato paste, cinnamon, soy and oyster sauce.
  4. Add water and simmer for 10-15 mins until sauce is nice and thick.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Put beef mixture into a 7×9 inch baking dish and let cool slightly.
  7. Preheat oven to 200C.
  8. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and add cauliflower.
  9. Boil until cauliflower is very tender (very easily pierced with fork – abt 15mins) and discard water.
  10. Add butter, yoghurt, cheese and garlic powder to pot of cauliflower and blitz with a stick blender until smooth (you can also use a potato masher if you don’t mind the lumpy bits). Add salt to taste. If mixture is very thick, add water 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency.
  11. Spread mash on top of beef mixture and top with extra Parmesan if desired.
  12. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins until top of cauliflower mash is golden.
  13. Serve with blanched broccolini or green beans topped with grated Parmesan and garlic oil.

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