Miso beef cottage pie is every (good) cottage pie you have ever had but it is better. It is deeper and richer, and this is all achieved with the simple addition of a hero ingredient, miso.
You will know miso soup, made from dashi (a simple but full flavoured broth made from kelp seaweed and/or bonito flakes usually) and miso. Bear with me while I explain as cooking and food is so much easier when you know what things are and once a scientist, always a scientist, right?! Plus, it is so interesting and as always I will keep it simple.
Miso is Japanese. A simple fermented paste of beans (usually soy), salt and koji. Koji is a rice infected with mould (think the fabulous moulds in other things like cheeses). Koji ferments the beans over a period of time (usually 6 months for miso made at home). The end result is a deeply savoury paste which we call miso. There are many types, and I always have several on hand. White miso is mild and sweet and goes with everything. It also makes a terrific substitute for stock when you need something speedy or just anyway.
You have a pot of miso in your fridge now, what next?
Miso especially loves beef, and makes a particularly terrific marinade for steak. Miso elevates most proteins in quick time, but try it with vegetables like carrots, also. Raise your roast chicken game by making a miso butter and covering the chicken with it before roasting it. Leave it sit in the fridge overnight if you can to allow the flavours to penetrate.
Miso is great for speedy satisfying bites too. You can make a quick mug of nourishing miso broth in lieu of a coffee, and a speedy nourishing meal with the addition of tofu and some seaweed. Experiment with the different misos available and if miso is new to you start with gentle white miso, which is one of my favourites anyway and a permanent resident in my fridge.
- 450g minced beef
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari if GF
- 250ml water
- Korean chilli to taste
- Fat for frying (I used saved bacon fat 🥰)
- 700g good mashing potatoes like Maris piper
- Butter (50g) and milk for mashing