Everyone loves a cottage pie, so I thought I’d give it a nice Mexican twist. The inspiration for the topping came from the wonderful Thomasina Myers, who is a bit of a hero of mine, not least because she won Masterchef. The Mexican street food in her Wahaca restaurants is so, so good. The last time we were in London, we went to the original one near Covent Garden for lunch, which was brilliant. I thoroughly recommend her book Mexican Food Made Simple. There are also Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home and Chilli Notes books, which are on my wishlist.
A couple of the ingredients listed in this recipe are a bit more difficult to source than the ingredients in my previous recipes, but they’re not essential; where a suitable alternative exists, I’ve also given that (or you can leave them out completely). You’ll also notice the cooking time is a bit longer, however the meat and bean mixture can be made in advance. Actually, the pie freezes really well; should you wish to freeze it, I recommend cutting it into individual portion sized pieces, wrapping in cling, then popping in a freezer bag.
Without further ado, I give you Mexican Cottage Pie.
5 or 6red chillies(finely chopped or ground to a paste or 1 tsp chilli powder plus more to taste)
4 clovesgarlic(grated or crushed)
1tbspmole(or square of 80%+ dark chocolate) - optional
1tspdried epazote- optional
750gramspork shoulder steaks
1 or 2cansred kidney beans(drained)
3canssweetcorn(large cans - drained)
3tbspcornmeal(or plain flour - not cornflour)
If you're using an oven proof pan, preheat your oven to 150 degrees.
Heat the oil over a medium hot heat, add the sliced onions and peppers, salt and sugar, and cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to be soft and starting to brown.
Add the grated/crushed garlic, cumin, coriander, epazote, tarragon, smoked paprika, and half the chillies.
Add the pork, then stir well to coat the meat and vegetables with the spice mix. Now, add the passata, vinegar, and mole (or chocolate) and stir again. Taste the sauce and add the rest of the chillis if you wish. Put the lid on your pan.
If using an ovenproof dish, transfer to the oven and cook for 90-120 minutes until meat is tender and falling apart. If you are not using an ovenproof dish, cook for the same amount of time on a gentle heat, stirring every now and again to stop the mixture sticking. Add the beans then transfer the filling to a large ovenproof dish.
Adjust the oven temperature to 175 degrees.
Put the topping ingredients into your food processor and blitz into a very course paste.
Spread the topping onto your pie filling and bake for 30-40 minutes or so until the pie topping starts to form a crust.