Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies

It’s a sunny Sunday, still and quiet here. The clouds and blustery winds of the last few days have finally departed, leaving a bright blue, cloudless sky in their wake. It’s the ideal day to get some work done on the house, a pleasure rather than a chore when the sun is shining. After all that sanding, painting and repair work we are going to need a decent lunch though, so I’ve prepared it all in advance.

You can tell I’m a good Kiwi boy, as there are few foods I find more satisfying than a good meat pie. Today I’ve taken the traditional cottage pie, bulked it up with some earthy, tasty lentils and wrapped it in tender shortcrust pastry for extra deliciousness.

This recipe for Beef and Lentil Cottage Pie might look a bit long, though that’s only because it’s two recipes in one: a quick and easy shortcrust pastry, as well as the pie filling itself. If you fancy, you can cheat and use store-bought pastry, though it’s very straightforward to make your own.

These Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies can be made days beforehand and even frozen unbaked, so they’re a terrific meal to cook in advance and always a crowd-pleaser. We’re all trying to budget and eat a little healthier, so swapping out some of the meat for lentils is not only good for the body, it’s good for the wallet! I think they are the perfect addition to cottage pie, adding just the right amount of texture and chew.

Hopefully you’ve had a relaxing weekend and have managed to get out into the fresh air wherever you are. Take care out there and happy cooking! x J

Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!



Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies

Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

I’ve taken the traditional rich beef cottage pie, bulked it up with some earthy, tasty lentils and wrapped it in tender shortcrust pastry for extra deliciousness. This recipe for Beef and Lentil Cottage Pie is two recipes in one: a quick and easy shortcrust pastry, as well as the pie filling itself.

Ingredients

for the filling:

  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil, sunflower, canola etc.
  • 2 medium brown onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 350-400 g beef mince
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, finely diced
  • or: 2 tsp dried herbs, thyme, marjoram, Herbes de Provence etc
  • 1 Tbsp plain flour
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml hot beef stock, from stock cubes or powder, is fine
  • 1 Tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 100 g green lentils, checked for stones and rinsed
  • sea salt & black pepper

for the topping:

  • 4 large potatoes, approx 800g, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 100 ml full cream milk

for the pastry:

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 125 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 large egg

or:

  • 2-3 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan. Over medium heat, gently cook the onions for 5 minutes until they begin to colour golden and soften. Add the carrots to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beef mince to the pan, season with a little salt and pepper and cook, breaking the mince up with a wooden spoon, until it has begun to colour. Stir through the rosemary and flour. Pour the red wine into the pan and allow to bubble up.

Stir together the beef stock, Worcester sauce and tomato paste, then add to the pan along with the lentils. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check after 15 minutes and add up to 250ml more water, if the mixture is getting too dry.

Season to taste, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until fork-tender, drain then set aside.

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment fitted and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg to the mixer and process until the dough begins to clump together, adding a tiny bit of water only if absolutely necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead briefly until smooth, then form into a log. Divide into 6 even pieces. Lightly grease a 6 hole, 250ml / 1 cup capacity ‘Texas’ style muffin pan (for 1 large pie, see notes). Roll each piece of pastry out to a round, about the same size as a saucer, then press gently, but firmly into the prepared tin, trimming the edges. You will have a little pastry left over, this can be frozen until needed. Place the muffin pan in the fridge while you heat the oven.

Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 with a rack in the lower third. Meanwhile, mash the potatoes with the butter and milk and season well with salt and pepper. When the oven is hot, take the muffin pan from the fridge, divide the cooled filling between the pastry cases, spoon the masked potato onto the top and use a fork to create ridges on the potato. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the potato is starting to crisp and brown.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before twisting gently to loosen. Tilt the pan to help you lift out the pies. Serve immediately.

Notes

If you don’t have a ‘Texas’ muffin pan, you can either make this pie in a casserole dish, individual ramekins or any other oven proof pan. Remember to grease the pan well before you line it with pastry, so that the slices can be removed easier. A 23cm springform would also work here.

You don’t need to make the pastry from scratch (though it is easy!) a good quality store-bought shortcrust will work just fine.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving:Unsaturated Fat: 0g

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I don’t have a ‘Texas’ muffin pan. Can I still make Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies?

You can! If you don’t have a ‘Texas’ muffin pan you can either make this pie in a casserole dish, individual ramekins or any other oven proof pan. Remember to grease the pan well before you line it with pastry so that the slices can be removed easier. A 23cm springform would also work here.


I don’t want to make pastry myself. Can I still make this recipe?

You don’t need to make the pastry from scratch (though it is easy!) a good quality store-bought shortcrust will work just fine.


Can I make these pies without the pastry?

Of course! A traditional cottage pie is simply baked in an oven-proof dish and topped with potato. Either bake it in individual ramekins/dishes or in one large casserole dish.


Can I leave the lentils out of this dish?

Yes! Just replace them with 100g more minced beef.



You can cheat and use storebought pastry, but it’s super easy to make at home!

Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies
Beef and Lentil Cottage Pies

Looking for more pie recipes? Why not try:

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pies


Let me know what you think!