If there’s one meal that give my partner nightmares it’s this. Not my version, mind you, but the meal in general. His eyes glaze over as he recalls his parents making a large pot of beef mince and tomatoes, unspiced. Day one it would be matched with spaghetti, and day two a layer of mashed potato would be added to the top and named a Shepard’s Pie. This is his own recollection, and I’m not 100% sure on the validity of this, and whether he’s even watched the process. But the point is that he has never wanted me to make Shepards Pie. WELL, unfortunately for him, it was one of my childhood favourites; along side a Thai Green Curry and Chilli Con Carne. And today I had a hankering for some Pie.
My own recollections of a Shepards Pie involve it being so delicious and there was just never enough because I would want 50 servings. Even presently, as the batch cooks, I’m contemplating whether this is one of those dishes that serves 4 but it means all 4 me. If I ate it all, then my partner would get his wish of avoiding the Pie. But I’m betting you that he will love this, because it has everything we like. I even baby-fed his thoughts, by allowing him to choose the veggies that were included in it. He chose Brussel Sprouts and carrots, not personal favourites, but I’m an adult and can deal with that.
Did you have a childhood favourite? Are you a lover or a hater when it comes to the meaty potato blob that is Shepard’s Pie? And most importantly; do you serve yours with or without tomato sauce?
- 2 onions, diced finely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups of veg, chopped (I used carrot, b.sprouts, peas)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp Italian herbs
- ½ tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 can of brown lentils, drained
- 1 TB stock powder
- 1 TB vegemite
- 2 TB balsamic or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 TB flour OR instant oats
- 6 potatoes, chopped
- ½ head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 TB vegan butter
- vegan cheese (I didn't use, but would have!)
- In a frying pan, heat the onion and garlic. Once it begins to sizzle, add the veggies, all of the herbs and the bay leaves. Stir for about 10 minutes. You'll think it's doing nothing, then suddenly all of the water will come out of the veg.
- Once the veg has began to get watery, add in the lentils and stock powder. Stir well.
- Make a "well" in the centre. Add the vegemite, and let it melt onto the pan. Add the vinegar and paste, then stir well to spread the flavours.
- Add the oats, stir and remove from the heat. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, boil the potato and cauliflower. Drain.
- In a large bowl/the empty pot, mash the potato and cauli with the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Line a 20cm baking dish with foil. Spoon on the veg mix and smooth down. Pour over the potato mix. Smear down. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with cheese if using.
- Bake at 200*C for 60 minutes or until heated through.