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    Delia's cottage pie with cheese-crusted leeks

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    Delia's cottage pie with cheese-crusted leeks

    "There are several ways to make cottage pie and it’s something everyone loves. I think this one is a cut above all the rest as the melted cheese and leeks on top of the mashed potato is a wonderful combination of flavours." Delia

    Serves: 4


    Butter, for greasing

    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
    100g carrot, peeled and chopped very small
    100g swede, peeled and chopped very small
    400g Waitrose minced beef
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
    1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
    1 tbsp plain flour
    275ml beef stock
    1 tbsp tomato purée

    For the topping:

    900g Desiree or King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
    2 medium leeks, cleaned
    50g butter
    50g mature cheddar, coarsely grated


    You will need a large lidded frying pan or saucepan and a 19cm square baking dish, 5cm deep, well buttered.

    1. First take the frying pan or saucepan and heat the olive oil over a medium flame and fry the onions until they are tinged brown at the edges. Now add the carrot and swede and cook for 5 minutes or so. Then remove the vegetables and put them to one side.
    2. Now turn the heat up and brown the meat in batches — a wooden spoon is helpful here, as it helps to break up the mince. Then add the cooked vegetables, cinnamon, herbs and some seasoning. Next, stir in the flour and gradually add the stock to the meat mixture. Finally, stir in the tomato purée. Now turn the heat down, put the lid on the pan and let it cook gently for about 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, steam the potatoes, sprinkled with a little salt, until they’re tender — about 25 minutes. While this is happening, prepare the leeks by cutting them in half lengthways and then cut each half lengthways again. Next cut the leeks into 1cm slices. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
    4. When the potatoes are done, drain off any water, return them to the saucepan, cover with a clean tea cloth to absorb the steam and leave them for about 5 minutes. Next, add the butter and some seasoning and mash them to a purée — the best way to do this is with an electric hand whisk. Don’t be tempted to add any milk here, because the mashed potato on top of the pie needs to be firm.
    5. When the meat is ready, spoon it into the baking dish. After that, spread the mashed potato evenly all over, then sprinkle over the leeks followed by the cheese. Then bake on a high shelf for 35 minutes until the top is crusty and golden.

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    Recipe adapted from Delia’s Complete How to Cook, published by BBC Books 2009 ©Delia Smith 2012


    Average user rating

    4 stars