Cottage Pie with Puy Lentils and Parsnip Mash

5 Dec

I so nearly named this ‘cottage puy’. Would that have been awful?

I’ve had a few goes at this meal recently, because although I really do like a Colman’s,  I really like coming up with my own ideas more, and I’ve been determined to make something I’m happy with.

Last time I made it, I used sweet potato and crème fraîche for the topping, and green lentils in with the mince, but I wasn’t feeling it. The topping was too sweet, and I love the richness of puy lentils so much that, to me, it just seemed a travesty not to include them. I did however, use rainbow carrots which was a very exciting experience.


Anyway, having recently discovered the joys of parsnip mash, I knew I was onto something better than before, rainbow carrots or not!

Serves 4

  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2-4 carrots (depending on size), chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 2 beef stock cubes dissolved in 450ml water
  • 400ml tin puy lentils, drained

For the Mash

  • approx 900g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large or 3 small parsnips, peeled and chopped (into same size as potatoes)
  • a splash or a few of milk
  • a knob of butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. I like to start by making the mash. Boil the kettle. Add the water to a saucepan with some salt, then boil the parsnips and potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash with seasoning, a knob of butter and enough milk to make it as creamy as you like.
  2. While the mash ingredients are boiling, dry fry the mince in a non-stick pan until it is crumbly and brown all over. Add the onions and carrots and fry over a high heat for about  minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, marmite, stock and lentils, and bring to the boil, stirring until it is well mixed. Turn down to a simmer, cover and leave to bubble away for 15 minutes, until the stock has reduced and the veg is tender.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºc and search for a suitable ovenproof dish while you wait. Add the meat mixture to the dish, followed by the mash topping. When the oven is up to temperature, bake the cottage pie until the topping is nice and golden and the pie is bubbling – about 30 minutes. You may want to put it under the grill if you are impatient.


From the pictures, you may be able to tell that a.) I am impatient when hungry, and b.) our grill doesn’t work. In other words, yours will most likely be much more golden and bubbling than this one, but if it isn’t, it doesn’t matter because it was still delicious.

Next time I think I’ll try using red wine and tomatoes… Mushrooms…

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