This is a bit of a cheat’s version of Shepherd’s Pie using dried herbs instead of fresh, soy sauce to add that umami flavour to the meat (minced beef can be unpredictable in terms of flavour) and hoi sin sauce to add sweetness and to balance the tinned tomatoes which can often be a little bitter.
400g minced beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
400g tin tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon hoi sin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (orWorcestershire sauce)
Salt and black pepper
For the mashed potato topping:
Mashed potatoes made from 4 peeled medium potatoes
1.Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Fry the minced beef over medium heat, without oil, in a non-stick frying pan until it renders its fat. If it is very fatty, pour off the fat or mop it up with paper towel.
3. Add the dried oregano. Stir and fry for 1 minute.
4. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the hoi sin and the soy sauce. Stir and add 200ml cold water. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. Taste and season. Cook until the mixture has thickened but is not dry (about 15 minutes).
5. Divide the meat mixture and sauce between 4 small oven-proof dishes or one large dish. Top with the mashed potato. Fork the potato in horizontal lines (this will become crispy) and cut the butter into small pieces and spread them over the mashed potato. Bake for 25-40 minutes depending on whether you have made 4 small pies or one large one, or until the potatoes are golden and the sauce is coming up the side of the potato.