I made this low carb cottage pie last week with great results. The potato-loving Mr KitchenBlurb made all sorts of skeptical noises, so I was nervous. But he agreed to try it. I almost made a pie where one half of the topping was potato and the other half used cauliflower, just in case. In the end I was brave and went the whole low carb hog, and I’m very glad I did.
My kitchen clearly disagrees, however – as you can see from the not-so-subliminal carb-laden “Bread” message lurking prominently in the photo above!
Low Carb Cottage Pie – how does that even work?
For this recipe I used my fairly standard cottage pie filling, but a radically different topping. Instead of mashed potato, you use pureed cauliflower. I took this (more or less) from a Tom Kerridge recipe for shepherd’s pie with a very similar topping. I’ve not tried the full Kerridge shepherd’s pie recipe yet – but it is on my list.
I found that the puree from one pretty large cauliflower made enough for 3-4 portions, depending how hungry you are. Lacking double cream, I substituted a spoonful or two of marscapone that needed using up. It seemed to work very well, and creme fraiche would do the job just as well. The blue cheese is enough to give a noticeable but not overpowering flavour, and combines really well with the cauliflower.
The overall effect is very creamy and feels quite indulgent. However, it also feels lighter and less stodgy than a potato topping. We both really enjoyed it and I’ll definitely make it again.
Cottage Pie Filling – always a bit improvised
I would always remain fairly relaxed about the exact ingredients and quantities for a cottage pie or shepherd’s pie filling. More often than not, I mince up leftover meat from our Sunday roast rather than buying uncooked mince. The amount I use is the amount I’ve got, and I adjust the vegetable and stock quantities accordingly.
A great dish to make in advance
I regularly make meals like cottage pie or shepherd’s pie in advance. The prepared pie can be popped in the fridge to be baked later. I also often make a large quantity and either freeze the extra filling, or even put together whole extra pies ready to defrost and go straight in the oven at a later date. This means you get several meals for the effort of preparing one – convenience food at its best.