Shepherd’s Pie At Last!
I’ve been lazy. Well lazy and busy. So I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking. I’ve been thinking about cooking just not actually doing it. It was time to get back on track.
One of the very first meals I made for Ryan when we moved in together was Shepherd’s Pie. He loved it. But for some reason I don’t make it that often. I’m not sure why because I love it too – any meal with homemade mashed potatoes is a great meal in my opinion. My grandmother made the best mashed potatoes – lots of butter, salt and pepper. This was quite a switch from my house where those things always – even on Thanksgiving – came out of a box.
Shepherd’s Pie is an English casserole traditionally made with lamb or beef and topped with buttery mashed potatoes. The other night I suprised Ryan with a Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – the quick and easy variety because I was short on time. I used lentils as the main protein in my version. Sometimes I use dried lentils and other times I use canned depending on what I have in stock. One of my favorites to use is actually a soup – Progresso’s Lentil Soup. You just need to drain some of the liquid and use that as your base with the peas, carrots and onions. I love it. Keep in mind you can absolutely swap out the lentils and add lamb, turkey, chicken or beef based on your preference and/or what you have in stock.
This meal lasted two days poviding lots of leftovers to this lazy cook and her husband.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
- 2 medium russet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup brown lentils or can of lentils or lentil soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- 2-3 carrots, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon herbs de provence
- 2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley
Bring a quart of water to a boil in a very large pot. Peel and cut the potatoes into six or eight pieces and place them in a steamer basket above the boiling water. Steam the potatoes gently for about 20 minutes or until they are tender. Let them rest for a moment off the heat to allow excess water to evaporate off of them and then transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, the salt, pepper to taste and 1/4 cup of the cream. Mash with a potato masher, fork or electric mixer until they are smooth, adding more salt or cream as necessary.
If using dried lentils: rinse and drain the lentils. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the lentils, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the lentils are tender and the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the carrots, peas, garlic, herbs de provence, and parsley to the onions. Cook for a few minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the lentils and then spoon the entire mixture into a 9X9 inch baking pan. Top with the mashed potatoes spreading the potatoes evenly over the top of the lentil mixture to cover the casserole completely.
Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered, in the oven. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Cut into sections and serve. Makes 4 servings