'fridge raider' cottage pie

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'fridge raider' cottage pie

#LeithsLoves Leiths teacher, Caroline’s, “fridge raider” cottage pie recipe. A great way to make the most of your leftovers and to freeze for later.

When the government called for all food businesses to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was suddenly left with lots of food and ingredients from our family hotel to try and use up and re-purpose to extend their shelf life. We contacted a local food charity cafe who took a majority of our fresh ingredients, but there were some items they couldn’t take and therefore left in the fridges.

I found a few homemade burgers, left over mash, carrot batons, quartered salad tomatoes and sliced red onions, along with some store cupboard basics. In an effort to reduce the amount of food waste produced by having to suddenly close down the hotel restaurant, I decided to make a batch of cottage pies to keep in the freezer, by cooking all of the ingredients I could safely freeze the finished pies, increasing their shelf life, and ready to be heated from frozen when required.


Serves 6

'Fridge Raider' Cottage Pie

4 beef burgers, broken up into mince
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tbsp. tomato puree
2 carrots, diced
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon bisto granules
250ml water
Small bunch of chopped parsley
Leftover mashed potatoes


  1. Sweat the onion in 1 tbsp of veg oil in a large saucepan over a low heat.
  2. In a separate frying pan, fry off the burger mince in batches until cooked through. Once cooked through and browned, set aside.
  3. Once softened add the garlic and cook for a further 2 mins.
  4. Add the tomato puree and cook out for a further 2 mins.
  5. Add the diced carrots, chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs, thyme and bay leaves.
  6. Add the browned burger mince to the sauce, and stir through.
  7. Sprinkle over the bisto granules and add the water, season lightly with salt and pepper, stir the mixture and allow the sauce to cook down over a low heat with a lid for approx.
  8. 30 mins, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has reduced. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before spooning into a pie dish, topping with chopped parsley and finish with mashed potatoes.
  10. You can store this in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

We hope this recipe from Leiths teacher, Caroline, comes in handy when you're in need of a comforting recipe to feed a hungry family at home over the coming weeks.

Have a go at the recipe at home, upload a photo on Instagram and tag us @leithscooking and use the hashtag #CookWithLeiths - we would love to see your dishes and see how you're getting creative with cooking at home.

Author: Caroline Lamont


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