I have always loved shepherd’s pie. It’s a gorgeous, classic comfort food. Now here’s a version that’s just as delicious as the original AND vegan.
While the ingredients list and steps may seem long, I promise this is a simple recipe that will make you feel like a gourmet when it’s done.
My next door neighbour, a venerable German lady and an excellent cook, came by to sample the dish and declared it to be buttery and sinful. I couldn’t ask for higher praise.
For the mashed potatoes
4-5 potatoes. I use Yukon Gold or any white fleshed potato. Scrub them well, remove any eyes, all or some of the skin and then dice.
1 white turnip peeled and diced. Trust me on this – the turnip gives the buttery flavour to the potatoes.
3 Tbsp vegan margarine
1/3 to ½ cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste
For the filling
½ cup beluga (black) lentils or any kind of lentils except red lentils, which get mushy.
3 stalks celery sliced
1 small onion diced
2 carrots sliced
1 parsnip sliced (if you don’t like parsnips, then just go with 3 carrots)
2 cups mushrooms sliced (I used cremini)
½ cup green peas (I used frozen)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tsp fresh thyme (or go w/ dried if that is what you have, but use only ½ teaspoon)
1 Tsp fresh sage (or go w/ dried if that is what you have, but use only ½ teaspoon)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (make sure your brand is vegan. I used Lea and Perrins)
A splash of red wine (about ¼ cup)
I Tbsp flour or arrowroot (for thickening the sauce)
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Boil the cubed potatoes and turnip together until they are soft. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Drain off the water. Add the margarine and milk and mash everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Put the lentils in a small pot with one cup of water. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a large skillet or large pot (you want a wide based vessel), sauté the onion, celery, carrot and parsnip in the olive oil. Sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and sauté some more until the mushrooms have released their liquid.
Add the tomato paste, flour, wine and half the broth. Stir well so the flour and tomato paste are blended well in the broth. Add the remaining broth, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, cooked lentils and peas and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced by about half. This will take about 15 minutes.
When the filling is ready, pour it into a very large pie dish or other casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and place under the broiler for 10 minutes until the potatoes are golden.
Dig in and enjoy!