Begin by preparing your ingredients. Add the chopped onion to a large casserole dish or pan with a good glug of oil, sweating the onions over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and caramelized. Once these have cooked add in the chopped garlic, fresh thyme, oregano, seasoning, finely diced celery and bay leaves and allow to cook for a further 10 or so minutes stirring occasionally. Once cooked remove from the pan and place to one side.
Next turn the heat up to high and add your minced beef to the pan you’ve just used cooking until it browns. Gently break up the minced meat into smaller chunks as you stir. Once browned add the onions, herbs and celery back into the pan and combine with the minced meat. Next add in the grated carrots plus the red wine and cook over a medium heat until the red wine boils and cooks off some of the alcohol. This should only take a few minutes, then add in the beef stock and cover with a lid or foil and cook on a medium to low heat for at least 40 minutes but ideally for as long as possible, a few hours is ideal. Note – Add in extra red wine or beef stock or water if the consistency becomes to dry, I like to have a fair bit of sauce with my pie (not too much but enough).
This can also be made a day ahead and will actually taste better for it!
For the mash, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks making them as evenly sized as possible and not too small so they disintegrate, around 2inches by 2inches is perfect. Add them to a large pan of boiling salted water and boil for 12-15 minutes or until soft, when prodded with a knife they should just slip right off. Once cooked drain then add a glug of olive oil plus your knob of butter and cover placing the lid back on the pan. Allow to steam for a couple of minutes before mashing. Next, while the potatoes are still hot add in the finely grated carrots and stir, add in your seasoning and fresh herbs and cover so that that carrot cooks through.
NOTE -You can also add a carrot or two to the pan while the potatoes are boiling for extra colour.
Once you’re happy with your filling and you have a super rich, hearty, minced beef, pour this into your pie dish and spoon on the mash covering the whole of the top of the pie. Grate over the Parmesan and bake for 20 minutes or if the mash and meat are still hot, grill until the cheese melts and begins to crispen up.
Serve immediately or allow to cool and reheat the next day. This will also freeze really well and keep for several months. Just whatever you do don’t throw any of it away!