Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
In a vegetarian shepherds pie, the mince is replaced by lentils or beans. I have given both options as I know that length of cooking time is important, so lentils need to be simmered for 30 minutes at stage 3, whereas you can get away with 5 minutes with beans. This dish freezes well for up to 2 months. It is best defrosted before cooked, but you can cook from frozen. To cook from frozen, cover the dish with foil and cook for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes at 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Uncover for the last 20 minutes and turn the temperature up to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 so that it can crisp on the top.
- 950 g sweet potato organic, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
- 25 g butter organic
- 6 tbsp milk organic
- 150 g mature cheddar cheese organic, grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 2 red onions organic, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots organic, scrubbed and diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 garlic cloves organic, peeled and crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme organic, leaves only, chopped
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes organic
- 200 ml vegetable stock (if using beans) organic
- 600 ml vegetable stock (if using lentils) organic
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- 400 g dried lentils organic OR beans
- 800 g tinned mixed beans organic
- 300 g peas organic or other green seasonal veg to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the potato and cook for around 10 minutes until soft. Drain, then add the butter, milk, most of the cheese and mash together. Set to one side.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and carrots and gently cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and fry for a further 1 minute.
- Add the thyme, tinned tomatoes and stock. Stir together and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil, then add the lentils or beans, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes for the lentils, 5 minutes for the beans. Check the stock occasionally with the lentils and top up if necessary.
- Place the lentil/bean mixture in the bottom of an oven proof dish, spoon the mash evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Bring the peas to the boil and serve together with the pie.
Not all eating together or in a hurry? This dish can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. This dish can be frozen for 2 - 3 months