Classic dishes like cottage pie are back in fashion again, and it’s good to know that vegetarians can enjoy a great version of them, too. Quorn mince is used here; it is very versatile – it looks and cooks like beef mince, and can taste just as good in a recipe. With just seven ingredients – but flexibility to add or substitute others – the pie is easy to make, and this recipe makes four good portions. Served sizzling from the oven, it is a crowd pleaser at lunch or dinner.

The dish takes about 35-40 minutes to prepare. Cooking time is around 45 minutes, but can be a little more or less, depending on the oven and how crispy the cook wants the potatoes to become. As long as the underneath mixture is bubbling well, the dish is ready to be served – use a large serving spoon or spatula without slots or holes, to avoid breaking up individual portions of the topping and to include the delicious gravy which may settle at the bottom of the dish.

Recipe For Quorn Cottage Pie

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 650 g potatoes about 6-7 medium
  • 4 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 300 g bag of Quorn mince chilled or frozen
  • 400 ml good vegetarian stock
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 400 g can red kidney beans
  • Also needed is a large approx rectangular 26×20cm or 23cm square ovenproof dish, lightly greased.

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes, and parboil whole for 10 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large pan.
  3. Peel and chop the onions, and fry gently in the oil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the Quorn mince, mix well, and continue to fry for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the chili powder.
  6. Drain the kidney beans and spread over the base of the ovenproof dish. Cover with the Quorn mixture and spread evenly.
  7. Slice the potatoes thinly and spread across the dish, overlapping, to cover all the mixture. Brush with the remaining 1 tbsp oil, and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is well browned.

Additional Twists

Green lentils or butter beans could be used in place of the kidney beans, and red wine could be substituted for 100ml of the stock. Herbs such as thyme leaves or finely chopped parsley could be added to the Quorn mixture if the stock is not especially rich. To make the dish even more robust, a little-grated Cheddar or vegetarian hard cheese could be sprinkled over the top fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time.

What To Serve With the Cottage Pie

A side salad is acceptable but would have to be on a separate plate. Better would be a really nice hot vegetable, such as asparagus, or tenderstem broccoli scattered with toasted pine nuts. Peas go well, too, perhaps sauteed for 10 minutes with some chopped spring onion, finely shredded lettuce, a sprinkling of sugar, and some ground black pepper. A sauce with vegetables is usual with cottage pie, but here the main dish should contain some tasty gravy which makes an additional sauce unnecessary.

A soft red wine would go well, such as Sicilian, otherwise sparkling mineral water or pomegranate or cranberry juice – avoid any sweet wines or juices with this pie.

This version of classic cottage pie is simple to make and should become a staple for family lunches or suppers. The preparation and cooking time may seem relatively long, but half of this time is oven baking, and of the other half, some are ’stirring and watching’. It is a versatile recipe, and once the basic dish has been tried, there is great scope for personalizing the pie.