Gosh, this has been such a productive weekend. Originally our plan for today was to go to the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival (it would be the third year in a row that I went!). But it poured rain all morning, so we stayed in a cleaned and hemmed curtains and hung paintings. And then we topped it off with a trip to Target for a mirror. It was a very domestic afternoon. It feels really good to have a quiet weekend in, after so many weekends of moving and packing and weddings and craziness.
The rain and the cozy feeling inspired me to make an equally cozy meal. I’ve made vegetarian shepherds pie before, but previously I’d used fake ground beef . This time I wanted something a little easier, so I went with lentils for the bulk of the filling. This was a great way to use up some of the veggies my parents had left me last time they were in town. In fact, the only vegetables that weren’t from them were the peas!
(some cooking essentials: wine and scrap bowl. Doesn’t everyone cook with a scrap bowl? It’s so much easier then going back and forth to the garbage)
(my parents’ carrots, celery and onions!)
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
For the filling:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- one onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- red wine (optional)
- 1 ½ cups green lentils
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 156 ml can tomato paste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste
For the potato topping:
- 4 medium baking potatoes (I actually used about 12 little potatoes, but that’s just the size my parents’ potatoes come in!)
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup grated old cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan
Start by sautéing the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another five minutes. If you’ve got some red wine laying around, you can deglaze the pan with a glug or two (but I realize not everyone has bottles of homemade wine lying around, like me). Meanwhile boil four cups of water and dissolve the bouillon cube in it. Add the lentils to the sautéed vegetables and then the boiling water. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring a few times.
Meanwhile, peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash with the butter and cheeses. Add some salt and a bit of fresh ground black pepper. Set aside until the lentil mixture is cooked.
Once most of the liquid has been absorbed by the lentils, add the tomato paste, the spices and the peas. Cook for another two minutes to cook the peas, then remove from heat.
Assemble the pie by filling a casserole dish halfway with the lentil mixture, then top with the potatoes (I ran a fork along the potatoes to get some nice ridges). Place under a broiler until the top gets golden brown – about five minutes. Serve and enjoy!