Comfort food is delightful in the winter, when jumpers and jackets cover their calorific side effects. As we enter Spring, however, I try to lighten our meals a little, in anticipation of shorts and vest tops. This recipe is a mid-week crowd pleaser; not cottage, not shepherd’s, but porky pie. It’s a quick, healthy meal that doesn’t take more than 30 minutes from fridge to table.
Ground pork is lovely and lean, but still has fabulous flavour if you give it a chance to brown. I add chopped mushroom to the meat to add volume, texture and flavour, but the kids would never know it! This is a gluten-free recipe that could be vegetarian if you use Quorn instead of meat. The usual carrots and peas add even more veg, texture and freshness to this delicious favourite.
My kids aren’t fond of white potato mash – they prefer sweet potato, so I’ve made this with sweet potato mash many times and it’s wonderful. This recipe is more traditional, with white or yellow potato mash on top, but if you’re really pressed for time midweek, you can use instant mash potatoes to top the meat. This saves peeling, boiling and mashing yourself, and only involves the kettle and a bowl. For families with less pernickety children, the instant mash is a real timesaver, and adding a little dollop of crème fraiche or soured cream makes all the difference for the taste. The pork gravy tastes amazing no matter how you top it!
- 1lb ground pork
- 1 cup chopped white onion (I use frozen)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chopped brown mushroom
- 1 cup chopped or grated carrot
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chicken stock concentrate, or ½ cube dried chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas
- Optional 1 additional tablespoon Worcestershire sauce near the end
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups of white potato mash (if not using instant)
- 3-5 medium russet potatoes
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional ½ cup shredded cheese
If you’re making your own mash, get a pot of water on the cooker to bring to the boil, and wash and quarter your potatoes so they’re ready to add to the water straight away.
Choose a nice wide pan for browning your meat and bring it to a medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions, ground pork and Worcestershire sauce and mix together, breaking up the meat and distributing the onions and sauce.
Leave the meat for a good 2 minutes to allow one side to brown deeply. Resist the temptation to stir as you want the flavour to stick. This is a great time to chop mushrooms and carrots.
Add the dry spices to the meat before your next stir and coat the meat before leaving it for another 2 minutes.
Add your chopped mushroom and carrot once the meat is mostly browned and mix into the mixture well.
Next, add the chicken stock and tomato paste, and perhaps a splash of water to help dissolve, but the meat and veg will have produced a bit of liquid to help stir into the gravy.
Add the frozen peas and distribute into the mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Allow the mixture to simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
While the meat is simmering, whip up your mash with either the kettle water and packet, or the boiled potatoes you’ve drained in the sink. If making from-scratch mash, I add the boiled potatoes back to the pan with the butter and use a fork to smash. I add 1% milk, and salt and pepper to taste. The handful of shredded cheese is optional, but adds colour and creaminess.
After about 10 minutes, taste the pork and add one more splash of Worcestershire to taste. I love the flavour, so add that last minute splash before it goes into the oven. You’re fine to use salt and pepper to taste if you prefer.
Pour the meat mixture into the bottom of a baking dish (I use a square non-stick) and cover with your mash.
Slide the pie into a preheated oven at 200C/400F for about 15 minutes. It doesn’t take long for bubbles, so an additional baking tray underneath is advised. Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving and enjoy!