This cottage pie recipe from the Hairy Bikers proves that comfort food doesn't have to be unhealthy.
The Hairy Bikers created this delicious lower-fat cottage pie for their show, The Hairy Dieters. This easy cottage pie recipe has all the rich warming flavours of the traditional dish with just 242 cals per serving. Serving eight people, this family-sized meal combines lean minced beef together with plenty of veggies including celery and tomatoes to make a flavoursome sauce. Topped with a half-fat crème fraiche and leek-infused mashed potato, it won’t feel like the healthy option. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to two days. Make sure you reheat thoroughly before serving.
- 400g lean minced beef
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2tbsp tomato purée
- 500ml beef stock, made with 1 beef
- Stock cube
- 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1tsp dried mixed herbs
- 4tsp cornflour
- 1tbsp cold water
- Flaked sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the leeky potato topping:
- 750g floury potatoes
- 2tsp sunflower oil
- 2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices
- 150g half-fat crème fraiche flaked sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
To make this cottage pie, place a large non-stick saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the mince and cook it with the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Use a couple of wooden spoons to break up the meat as it cooks.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mince is tender.
About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 4cm chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly and simmer for 18–20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often. Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan, season to taste and mash with the crème fraiche until smooth. Stir in the sautéed leeks and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°C/Gas Mark 7. When the beef has been simmering for 40 minutes, mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the beef and cook for another 1–2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring often.
Pour the beef mixture into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, top the beef with the mashed potatoes and leeks. Spoon the mixture all around the edge of the dish before heading into the middle, then fluff up with a fork.
Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If making this ahead of time, let the pie cool, then cover and put in the fridge.
Top tip for making Hairy Bikers' healthy cottage pie
The reason this cottage pie is so healthy is that the Hairy Bikers used lean beef, cooked without fat and have bulked out the mash with leeks to reduce the calories.