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  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C /375°F/ Gas 5.
  2. Prick the baking potatoes with a fork and place on the middle shelf of the oven.
  3. Bake for at least 1 hour until tender when pierced with a fork. (If they are large baking potatoes, cook for 1 ½ hours)
  4. Place the beef stock, red wine and balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan until hot, add the olive oil, onions and carrots and sweat for 1-2 minutes until just softened.
  7. Add the beef mince and fry over a high until browned, stirring well.
  8. Add the plain flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the reduced beef stock and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
  9. Simmer for 45 minutes until the mince is tender and the liquid thickened.
  10. Season well with salt and black pepper.
  11. Cut the baking potatoes in half, scoop out the potato and pass through a sieve or potato ricer into a clean saucepan.
  12. Add 60g/2½oz of the butter and milk and place on the heat.
  13. Heat until the butter has melted, stirring well all the time to give a creamy mash, then season with salt and black pepper.
  14. Spoon the mince into a medium sized baking dish (18cmx18cm) and pipe the mashed potato on top.
  15. Mark lines across the top of the mash with a fork then place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
  16. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until hot through then drain and toss with the remaining butter.

To serve -

  1. Spoon the cottage pie onto a plate and pile some peas alongside.