Low fat Cottage Pie – really delicious

18 Oct

DSCI0415I seem to have been on a diet all my life and yet I never seem to get any thinner so I have. at long last, decided that I need to eat more healthily and make subtle changes that will see the weight come off gradually.  This recipe is one of many that I love in Judith Wills book ‘Top 200 low-fat recipes’.  Some of the recipe are my most loved dishes and I make them frequently but this was the first time I had tried this one.

So what makes this dish lower in fat and yet taste so good.  Firstly I think it must be because of the addition of some vegetables and baked beans. These not only bulk out the mince but give it a lovely flavour. As I used very leans minced beef this was essential.  She also uses herbs and flavourings to bring all the flavours together. I made a slight change in the herbs I used but it still tasted wonderful.  Finally she has replaced some of the potato with parsnip and has used light mayonnaise and low-fat fromage frais to mash them together instead of butter and cream. You would not believe how tasty the topping was. I think I might use this method of making mash in the future!

Well here is the recipe, only 400 calories for a generous portion.

Cottage pie                                     Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 400g extra lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 200g can baked beans in tomato sauce, lightly mashed down
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • 300 ml beef stock

For the topping

  • 400g old potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp low fat natural fromage frais
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/gas 4.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the beef until browned, breaking it up as you go. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.  In the remaining fat sauté the onion, carrot and celery over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add a little water if it looks as though it is getting too dry.
  3. Return the meat to the pan and mix well. Add the beans, tomato puree, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and stock.  Mix together really well then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if it looks too dry and is sticking to the pan.
  4. Meanwhile make the topping. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and parsnips and simmer until tender. Drain. Mash them with the mayonnaise and fromage frais, season to taste them mash again. If the potato seems too dry add a little skimmed milk.
  5. when the meat is cooked, adjust seasoning if necessary then pour into a shallow oven dish.  Put the potato mix on top and smooth out then sprinkle with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling underneath.

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