For when you don't want to share a dish, these Mini Cottage Pies are perfect!!
I love cottage pie, my kids love cottage pie, so there is no better excuse than to make up some mini cottage pies for the family to enjoy.
Want to know the best thing about this recipe? Well it serves 6 and because you are making them in single portion dishes, you can put some aside to freeze for another day. Perfect!!! That's dinner on the table and some leftover to freeze, you can't ask better than that.
I am a family of 4 though however, so if you have a bigger family to have some to freeze, you would need to up the recipe to accommodate.
Incase you just want a full sized cottage pie to slice and serve, I also have this delicious Syn Free Cottage Pie which I make with a lovely sweet potato topping. Then there is also this Shepherd's Pie or Crispy Potato Topped Pie, if you prefer a hotpot kind of dish. I even have vegetarian's covered with this yummy Cheesy Topped Lentil Shepherd's Pie.
Many get confused by Cottage and Shepherds Pie and to some they are the same thing, but Shepherds Pie is traditionally made with lamb (hence the shepherds part) and Cottage Pie with beef. So if you are using beef it shouldn't be anything but Cottage Pie and then to confuse matters even more, add some breadcrumbs to the top and you have a Cumberland pie.
My favourite is actually Shepherds Pie, as I love lamb, but on Slimming World it's hard to get a extra lean cut of ground beef, so if you want Shepherds Pie, you are usually going to have to syn it, unless you use some chunks of lean lamb instead, which is actually pretty tasty as a work around.
So the majority of the time when I want to keep it syn free I make a good ole cottage pie instead and a pretty darn good one too.
I chop all my vegetables using my my awesome Nutri Ninja Blender and Food Processor with Auto IQ technology I love the food processor bowl, as you can just throw in your onion, carrots, celery etc, do a few pulses of the blade and it is all finely chopped and perfect for soups, cottage pies, curries etc. Of course you can easily do it by hand too, this just saves time when I am doing some batch cooking.
For the potato topping I use Yukon Golds which is a lovely golden yellow waxy type potato. Avoid floury type potatoes and the reason why is because if you want a decent mash with floury potatoes you are going to need lots of butter and cream or milk otherwise it tends to be pretty dry and tasteless in my opinion. I keep the floury type of potatoes for things like these Syn Free Roast Potatoes or Perfect Syn Free Chips, where those are going to really crisp up.
In the UK a potato that is similar to Yukon Golds is the Elfe potato, so keep an eye out for those, you will be amazed by the buttery taste without the need for lashings of butter.
I then cook the potatoes in stock instead of water, as it adds to the flour, and mash with a couple of eggs to keep them lovely a creamy.
For these Mini Cottage Pies, instead of really smoothing the potato across the top like you normally would, go for a more rustic attempt, by just spooning some onto the top and then roughly smoothly with a fork, what this does is forms a lovely golden potato topping which is divine.
I use little 5 inch round casserole dishes to make up the cottage pies, they are a perfect size for a single portion. For leftovers to freeze, these handy freezer food prep containers are perfect. You can make up the mini cottage pies in the containers with whats left and freeze for another day.
For the gravy part of the cottage pie, I decided to make up a batch of my syn free gravy, which is so delicious and rich, it worked perfectly for the sauce part of these Mini Cottage Pies, so much more flavour than just some stock cubes and well worth the effort.
As for sides, you can serve with an additional vegetables of choice, these Mini Cottage Pies will go with pretty much anything and if you want to make these okay for an SP or Original day, just a swede and carrot topping or even use this Syn Free Cauliflower Mash - perfect!!
Looking for some more recipes to try? – Previously on Slimming Eats
- 1 year ago: Cinnamon and Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 years ago: Asian Chicken Meatballs
- 4 years ago: Slow Cooked Chicken
- 5 years ago: Garlic and Herb Roast Potatoes
- 6 years ago: Chunky Leek and Potato Soup
- 7 years ago: Asian Barbecued Chicken
- 8 years ago: Low Syn Beef Lasagne
with many more recipes in my full: Recipe Index
Syn Free Mini Cottage Pies
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, paleo, Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendlyExtra Easy - syn free per servingOriginal/SP - syn free per serving (use swede and carrot or cauliflower for topping)WW Smart Points - 7
- For the gravy:
- 3 red onions
- 6 cups of beef stock
- 2 tbs of tomato paste
- 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar
- For the cottage pie:
- 500g of extra lean ground beef
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini (courgette), chopped
- 1 tbs of mixed herbs
- salt and black pepper
- 1.13kg (1.5lb) of Yukon gold potatoes (or similar potato), peeled and chopped
- 2 eggs
- spray oil
- enough chicken stock to cover
For the gravy:
- Spray a small saucepan with spray oil, add the onion and fry for 5 mins to soften and caramelize.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and stir till it has reduced down.
- Add the stock and tomato paste, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 mins.
- Add to a blender and blend till smooth, set aside.
For the cottage pie:
- Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, celery, garlic and carrots to a deep frying pan and fry till browned.
- Add the zucchini and cook for a further 1-2 mins.
- Add the mixed herbs and pour in the gravy, season with some salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 mins.
- While the cottage pie meat is simmering. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f (gas mark 6). Add the potatoes to a deep saucepan, and just cover with chicken stock, bring a to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are fork soft.
- Drain, reserving the stock and mash the potatoes till nice and smooth, season to taste with salt and black pepper. Then add the eggs and a little of the stock till the potato is lovely and creamy (you want it to still be slightly thick , so that it goes lovely and golden and crisp on top).
- Spoon the meat mixture into the casserole dishes and spoon the potatoes onto the top. Roughly smoothing with a fork, so it appears more rustic.
- Spray over the top with some spray oil and bake in the oven for approx 35 mins till the topping is golden.
- Serve with your choice of sides.
Nutritional information is an estimate and is to be used for informational purposes only.
Ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand and therefore it would be impossible to give accurate information.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 341Total Fat 6.1gSaturated Fat 2.5gCholesterol 62mgSodium 652mgCarbohydrates 45.4gFiber 7.6gSugar 4.8gProtein 27.6g
Suzi Collyer says
Just made this tonight, it was so nice. Was unsure of balsamic at first but once all cooked in, it was immense!! My 6 year ate it and wanted more!! She has eaten courgettes!!
So tasty another family favourite
I'm not a fan of balsamic vinegar can I omit it or can't you taste once cooked?
Siobhan (Slimming Eats) says
You won’t really taste it, but yes omit if you really dislike.