750 grams ( about1&1/2 lb) potatoes peeled & cut into chunks for boiling.
450- 500grams ( about 1lb) beef mince.
75grams ( 3oz) butter or oil.
150grams (6oz ) strong cheese ( eg mature cheddar) grated.
2 carrots peeled & diced.
1 large onion diced.
salt & pepper to taste.
275-300ml ( about 1/2 pint) stock.
2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs.
1 tablespoon flour to thicken the mixture (if needed).
Boil potatoes in salted water for about 20-30 Min's.
Drain and mash with some butter.
Set aside to cool slightly. ( Some people find it helps to flatten the mash onto a plate at this stage then later on you can slide it easily onto the top of the mince mix - but make sure you use the right size plate to fit your casserole dish.)
Whilst the potatoes are cooking prepare the mince as follows:
Brown the mince,onion & carrot in some oil in a large frying pan.
When browned add the stock and simmer for about 30 Min's.
Add flour to thicken if needed.
Skim off any excess fat.
Turn into ovenproof casserole dish.
Allow to cool a bit as it makes it easier to slide ( or put ) the mashed potato on top.
The potato layer should be about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick
Mix the cheese & breadcrumbs together and spread over the potato layer
( Some people like to mix the cheese with the potato instead & just top with breadcrumbs. )
There are a few variants possible as some people like to add some tomato ketchup, puree or Tabasco sauce to the mince. Some like to add celery or other vegetables in the dish . Traditionalists, however, agree that it's a third layer on top of the potato that differentiates Cumberland pie from its close cousin - Cottage Pie and its, lamb based, near relative Shepherds' Pie .
bake uncovered at 180C 450F gas mark 4 for about 30 Min's till top well browned - if you like it extra crispy you can pop the dish under a hot grill for a few minutes before serving - usually accompanied by a green vegetable and extra gravy
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