A spicy Anglo-African cottage pie

I love my new knives! I received a lovely shiny set for my birthday, and after using one blunt knife for everything for the last six months, I am in heaven. Frank was worried about giving me the new set of knives, as I am incredibly accident-prone, but in the end it was Frank who shed the first drop (or five) of blood. Not to worry, all wounds are healed, and I am proud to announce that I have not cut myself yet! (touch wood, touch wood.) We both used to dread it when I found a recipe that required sweet potato or pumpkin, as it took us hours – and buckets of sweat – to get the vegetables looking anything like they did in the recipe. Not with my new knives though, my chef’s knife just slid through those sweet potatoes like they were marshmallows. Never under-estimate the value of a good knife!

mince cooking in the pot

During a slow day in the world of bean-counting, or “work” as people like to call it, I was looking for some delicious recipes for dinner. As Sydney has been plunged into ice, I wanted some winter comfort food to fill our bellies. As luck would have it, I found a recipe for spicy parsnip cottage/shepherd’s pie. This recipe was very different to what I’m used to, as it had a tasty Moroccan twist to it. Needless to say, I made it and Frank hoovered it up! (Which is his fee for being chief dish-washer)

pie, waiting for the oven

The dish is a little time-consuming as it has three stages to the recipe. What’s great about it is that you can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven when you get home from work. It tastes as delicious the next day, as all curries seem to do. The cottage/shepherd’s pie has a surprisingly bobotie-like taste, bobotie being a traditional meat-and-custard dish from South Africa, so if you’re looking for the taste without the hassle, give it a go! I would recommend you serve it with a green salad and some crusty bread, but it’s also great on its own.

pie, out of the oven

Spicy shepherd’s pie (adjusted from BBC Good Food website)

For the meat sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
small knob of ginger, peeled and granted
2 tbsp medium curry powder
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
500g minced beef or lamb (or even chicken/turkey)
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g frozen peas

For the topping:

600g sweet potatoes , peeled and chopped into large chunks
large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 chilli , deseeded and chopped
large bunch coriander , chopped
2 tsp turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
50g butter (or nuttilex if you want to go dairy-free)

For the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until soft, add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, then cook until aromatic. Turn up the heat, add the mince, fry until browned, then add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and simmer for 20 mins until thickened. A few mins before the end, add the peas.
Meanwhile, tip the sweet potatoes and potatoes into a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, then cook for 10 mins. Drain, season and mash with the rest of the ingredients.
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 8. Assemble the pies in individual dishes (or one large one) by placing some meat sauce on the bottom and topping with mash. Ruffle up the tops with a fork, then bake for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.

Frank's portion... 😉

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4 Responses to “A spicy Anglo-African cottage pie”


  1. 1 Tes 16/06/2010 at 10:33 pm

    The recipe sounds really interesting. It looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. 3 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 17/06/2010 at 8:17 pm

    That looks astoundingly good! 😮 I like the amount of vegetables in it. Sometimes other pies don’t have enough vegetables 🙂


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