You know all this fluctuation in temperatures has played havoc with our diets, when we are ready to eat salads, they're not growing and it's too cold so we have pulled out this old standby for those wet, miserable and glowering days that require the heavy touch of comfort food. Great alone or with some crusty bread and a good beer. If you want to know why we call it Cowboy Pie, well it's simple because like Hollywood Cowboys it's kind of a fraud. You are expecting mince beef or lamb when you crack the surface of the mashed potato but you are faced with a staple of being on the range, beans. Just remember that after eating to sit down wind of any cowboys.
6 x thick sausages or a 1lb (approximately 500g) of good quality butcher sausages (but wouldn't advise chilli ones for children unless you're a family of chilli lovers).
1 x tin of plum tomatoes.
1 x tin of baked beans.
1 tablespoon of tomato puree.
Chopped mixed herbs (oregano, rosemary, marjoram). The choice is your's, fresh or dried, have fun with it. Even a little paprika gives it heat in winter.
1 teaspoon of pesto.
2 tablespoons of red wine (optional).
Enough mashed potato to cover your pie, approximately 3lb (approximately 1.4kg) of good mashing potatoes.
Salt and Pepper.
Place sausages on a tray with some oil drizzled over them. Roast sausages on 200 degrees (400 in fahrenheit and gas mark 6 in old money - we will refrain from any EU Referendum jokes) for 30 minutes or until cooked. In the meantime boil your potatoes with a pinch of salt. Put your tomatoes, beans, herbs, wine and tomato puree in a hob-to-oven casserole dish (which means you can use that pan on a hob ring and put it in the oven without it melting), and place on a medium heat on a ring and bring to a simmer. Drain potatoes when cooked, use a fork to test them if they are easy to push into, they're cooked! Mash them with butter, pepper and salt to taste. Take sausages out of oven and add to casserole dish by cutting them into fours, creating mini sausages. Take off the heat and leave to cool for five minutes, add mash topping in tablespoon dollops and use a fork to blend the dollops into one pie top, you can create a pattern with fork which will crisp up. Then grate cheese on top. Place in oven at 180 degrees (350 fahrenheit, gas mark 4) for approximately 30 minutes or until browned.