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I regularly make cottage pie for my family and so I bought a couple of packets of the Colman's Cottage Pie Sauce Mix to try out. I have used other Colman's mixes before and on the whole I've always been impressed by them and they add a little bit extra for really minimal effort. A packet of the Colman's Cottage Pie Sauce Mix currently costs 89p from Tesco - which I kind of feel is a little on the expensive side for a product of this type as many of the mixtures were a lot cheaper than this. I'm not sure what makes this one more expensive because it doesn't stand out as anything worthy of costing more - but there you have it. Full instructions on how to use the dried mixture come on the packet, as well as a full list of ingredients.
Using this mixture is easy. The sauce mix is dried and so it needs to be rehydrated before it can be used and so this is done by adding the mixture to cold water and then stirring it in. It then needs to be slowly warmed and then this can be added to browned mince, onions, carrots, peas and garlic. Initially it looks like there is loads of sauce and it looks quite runny, but as the sauce is left to simmer and meld, it then reduces down and becomes much thicker and richer. What is nice about this mix is that it coats all of the ingredients and binds them together nicely. I would usually simmer it together for about 20 minutes and then put it in the oven topped with mashed potato as usual.
The end result is actually really quite good. It tastes fresh and there is nothing synthetic tasting about it. It's nice and thick and has a subtle flavour of tomato and meat juices which is just really moorish. It is possible to make your own sauce like this without much effort needed, but no doubt this is easier and so why make work for yourself!
Overall, I recommend this because it's tasty and it just makes things very easy!
I always find it useful to have a few supplies in my cupboard as sometimes time is of the essence and cooking a meal. My basics are normally packet sauces which I find very useful when time is limited. Schwartz are a favourite of mine as well as Colman's (they do make other things than mustard!). One that is always in my cupboard is the Cottage Pie sauce mix as I find it really makes a tasty dish.
*** Colman's ***
Colman's was started by Jeremiah Colman in 1814 when he first advertised his mustard in Norwich and the brand continued to grow from there and was family run. In 1855 the bull symbol was used to symbolise tradition and quality. By 1866 the famous red and yellow colours were used and in the same year the company was granted the Royal Warrant as manufacturers to Queen Victoria and this seal can still be seen on all the Colman's products. By 1995 Colman's was bought by Unilever and makes products from mustard to mint jelly.
*** Packaging ***
The sauce mix comes in a rectangular sachet which is incredibly thin so can fit anywhere in your cupboard without causing clutter. On the front of the sachet there is the traditional Colman's logo at the top and there is a picture of a cottage pie together with vegetables on the front. The picture and logo are on a brown background. On the back of the sachet are the instructions on how to use the sauce mix and what ingredients to use and the amounts.
*** Cooking ***
Using the sauce mix is incredibly easy. All you need to do is pour the mix into a jug of cold water which needs to be around 300ml. Simply stir the sauce as it does get lumpy. Once it is stirred well (it can sit at the bottom of the jug) you just pour it onto your mince and heat up. I left my beef mine, vegetables and sauce mix heat up for about 25 minutes and then I transfer it to the oven for a further 35 minutes but this is just my preference.
*** The Taste ***
Well it definitely doesn't taste like my mother's cottage pie but it certainly tastes great! The sauce mix (if used with the right amount of water) provides a great meaty flavour with a medium consistency. The gravy/ sauce has a great consistency as it isn't runny as it gets thicker during cooking. When you first mix the packet mix with water it is just like water but when it cooks with the meat and vegetables it thickens up but not too much where your left with no gravy whatsoever.
The flavour of the sauce isn't predominantly beef but more of a meat taste if that makes sense. The sauce is a rich brown colour and is well seasoned so you won't need to add any salt and pepper. For me it provides a great tasting cottage pie which has plenty of flavour.
*** Ingredients ***
Wheat Flour, Tomato Powder (16%), Flavourings (contains wheat), Dried Onion (9%), Corn Flour, Yeast Extract, Salt, Barley Malt Extract (contains wheat), Garlic Powder, Thyme, Vegetable Oil
*** Nutritional Information ***
Calories - 291
Fat - 1.3g
Protein - 13.7g
Sugar - 15.8g
Salt - 12.5g
No artificial preservatives, no added MSG, no artificial colours and no hydrogenated fat
Suitable for Vegetarians.
*** Price and Availability ***
Tesco - £0.62p
Asda - £0.62p
Sainsburys - £0.74p
*** Overall ***
Even though it is not the healthiest of packet mixes it provides a great tasting meal should you be short of time. I don't use this regularly because of the high sugar and salt levels but I enjoy it occasionally. It provides a lovely meal with plenty of flavour which sometimes you don't get with packet mixes. For me this works and I would recommend it, just not for frequent consumption.