SHEPHERD'S PIE (VEG VERSION)

Shepherd’s Pie was one of my favorite meals when I was a kid. It’s something I really missed for many years as a vegetarian, and then at some point, it occurred to me that lentils + mushrooms would be SO good instead of the meat. So here’s my version to enjoy, for veggies + meat-eaters alike! And as I’m typing this, I thought of a twist to try, so watch for the new recipe soon! Shepherd's Pie

SHEPHERD’S PIE (Veggie Version)  Makes two medium small dishes for 2 people (one to eat, one to freeze) OR one big for 4 people.

Ingredients: 6 organic russet potatoes (sadly they hold onto pesticides more than a lot of other veggies, so try to get organic) 1 cup dry lentils, cook according to package (do NOT add salt!) 16 oz button mushrooms (I often used pre-sliced for convenience) 8 oz tomato sauce 1 cups peas (I usually use frozen, but fresh is great of course) 1 clove garlic 2 shallots or 1 small onion 4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (get a vegan version if possible) 2 Tbsp ketchup 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp butter (vegan or traditional are fine) 1/4 C Milk (You can use cow’s milk or a vegan variety, but if you use almond, soy, or rice – make sure it’s not vanilla or another flavor! You want unsweetened, unflavored! And I do not recommend coconut milk for this.) Salt & pepper to taste

Potatoes:

  1. Wash/scrub potatoes and slice about 1/2″ thick. Put in a big pot of water, so all slices are under water.
  2. Put on medium-high heat, until boiling, then turn down to medium so it’s slowly boiling, for about 20 minutes (until soft when poked with a fork).
  3. Once soft, drain water out, and add butter + milk — mash, mash, mash! Add a little water or more milk if necessary for texture.

Filling (while potatoes are cooking):

  1. Make lentils according to package. Do NOT add salt!
  2. Roughly chop mushrooms so they’re about 1/2″ x 1/2″ (doesn’t need to be exact, at all!)
  3. Sauté mushrooms in a few drops of olive oil. They will start to “sweat,” and then they’ll brown. Don’t add salt here either – it will prevent the good browning from happening. (You may have to do them in two batches depending on how big your pan is – you don’t want them piled too high, or they won’t brown nicely.)
  4. Once lentils & mushrooms are done, combine in the same pan, if they’ll fit, or a bigger pot.
  5. Add garlic, shallots or onion, salt, pepper to taste – let flavors open up and mix for 3ish minutes.
  6. Add peas, tomato sauce and tomato paste, allow the peas to cook.
  7. Turn heat down to low, and add worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, ketchup; mix well and allow the flavors to solidify for about 8-10 minutes.

Assembly & Cookage:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Put a 1 1/2″ layer of the lentil/mushroom on the bottom of the dish, and then 1″ layer of the potatoes on top and smooth a bit. When I was little, my mom would use the back of a fork to make a plaid pattern on the top of the potatoes, so that’s what I do now.
  3. Then scatter a few little bits of butter on top before it goes in the over to give it a nice crust on top.
  4. Cover lightly with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove for the remaining 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and a bit crispy.

Take a deep breath before you start to eat, so you slow down and really enjoy it!