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Shepherd’s Pie

October 17, 2009

With a sudden cold (for Hilton Head) spell I yearned for a warming substantial main dish for dinner.  BBC Good Food (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com) to the rescue with a recipe for a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie!

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Cooking some lentils to use in this pie is simple: simmer them in plenty of water with a bay leaf till done to your taste–may take from 20-40 minutes.  Whatever you don’t use in this recipe can be frozen, so I cook more than I will need.  I like the firm texture of French green lentils but ordinary green lentils can be used.

Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan; add 1 large onion, halved and sliced and fry until golden.

Add 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced along with about 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped. If fresh isn’t available use 2 teaspoons dried.

Pour in 3/4  cup red wine (a drinkable one), about 2/3 cup water and a 15-oz can of chopped tomatoes. (I added a scant teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base.)  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cup cooked green lentils (preferable French Lentilles Verte du Puy) and simmer another 10 minutes or till the carrots still have a bit of bite.

Meanwhile, peel and cut into chunks 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (about 2 large ones).  Boil them till tender, drain, and mash with 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste.

Pile the lentil mixture into a casserole or large gratin dish, spoon the mash on top and spread it evenly over the lentils.  Sprinkle with about 3 ounces grated cheese. (The recipe called for aged cheddar but I used a smoked cheddar which was very tasty. )  Sprinkle a little more thyme over the top.

At this point the pie can be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  If cooking straight away, cook for 20 minutes, or for 40 minutes from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through.

Serve with broccoli.

Serves 6-8 (even though the original recipe says serves 4!)

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