Vegan, Vegetarian

Vegetarian/Vegan Shepard’s Pie

L

This week, I was back in my cooking groove. Me – and not the Teen – had a craving for vegetarian Shepard’s Pie. I started looking at recipes but nothing much appealed. I then decided to cook my usual recipe and swap the meat for lentils. And it worked – brilliantly! If I hadn’t slipped into a food coma, I could have happily kept eating it. Total comfort food and, dare I say it, nicer than the traditional meat version. I think the Teen gave it the thumbs up too as the leftovers vanished!

With this recipe, there is enough for four generous dinner portions. The mash can be either traditional, made with milk and butter, or vegan, made with soya milk and olive oil.

Ingredients
8 ounces, green lentils*
1½ pint, vegetable stock
2 tbsp, olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
4 ounces, mushrooms chopped into small pieces
3 fluid ounces, red wine
2 tbsp, tomato puree
1 tbsp, dried parsley
1 tsp, dried mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
½ tsp, sugar
Sea salt and black pepper

2lbs, potatoes
3 fluid ounces, milk/soya milk
Generous knob butter/2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

*These lentils keep their shape while other varieties could turn to mush in this recipe

Method
1. Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with a pint of cold vegetable stock
2. Bring the lentils gently to the boil and let them cook slowly for about 15 minutes
3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan
4. Add the chopped onions and cook gently until carmelised (about 8-10 minutes)
5. Add the carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes
6. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes
7. Add the red wine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
8. Add the tomato puree, remaining half pint of stock, sugar, mixed herbs, parsley, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper
9. Strain the lentils and add to the mix
10. Heat the oven to 180 C
11. Leave the lentil mix to cook for about 30 minutes to allow the flavour to develop.
12. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until cooked
13. Strain the potatoes and return to a low heat to let any remaining water dry off
14. Add the milk and butter/ soya milk and olive oil
15. When heated, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and mash until the potatoes until smooth
16. Remove the bay leaf and place the lentil mix in an oven dish
17. Cover with the potato mix on top and even out to the edges with a fork
18. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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