This is a variation on the theme of cottage pie, but with a Mediterranean twist in the form of black olives and pomegranate molasses; and with a taco and beetroot crisp topping instead of the more usual mashed potato (it’s different, adds texture, and is miles quicker to make. It goes particularly well with a fresh tomato, lime zest and coriander (cilantro to those of you in north America) salad.

You can easily make ahead of time, simply reheating and adding the taco/crisp topping at the end.

Serve it with lashings of sour cream.


Recipe for taco-topped and tomatoed beef pie – cottage pie with edge


For four


  • 600ml/2½ cups (2 x 300ml tubs) soured cream
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 kg/2 lbs good quality (non-fatty) minced beef
  • 180g jar/6 oz sundried tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, dry fried and ground in a pestle and mortar
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 400g/14 oz tin good quality tomatoes (break these up)
  • 100g/4 oz pitted black olives (either the Crespi dried type, or in olive oil. Go here for how to make your own)
  • 160g tin/6 oz sweet corn
  • 2 tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • Good generous slosh of marsala or red martini (but marsala is best)
  • 2 x160g packet/12 oz ordinary or nacho cheese tortilla chips
  • 2 x 100g packs mixed beetroot crisps
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked salt (not too much because of the crisps) and Indonesian long black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Fry the onion and green pepper in olive oil for about five minutes until soft
  3. Add the meat, the cumin, the allspice, the paprika and brown the meat – another five to ten minutes
  4. Add the tomatoes, olives, sweetcorn (drained) and pomegranate molasses
  5. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes to reduce down the liquid
  6. Pour the meat into a baking dish
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, meanwhile smashing roughly the crisps and chips
  8. Scatter the smashed mix over and cook for another five minutes
  9. Serve with lashings of soured cream


beef pie

sort of cottage pie



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