Sunday, 2 February 2014
Vegan lentil shepherd's pie
I'm going to meet my cultural stereotype as a Brit and start this post by talking about the weather. Well, stereotypes exist for a reason! But really, the weather has been horrible for the last few weeks. Like, really really horrible. All that cold and wind and rain has been pretty depressing and made me wish that humans hibernated.
I don't know about you, but when the weather's like this, all I want to eat is warming, stodgy comfort food, and lots of it. Pasta and potatoes are a key food group during these winter days; and all those carbs are necessary for you to build up that layer of padding to keep you warm. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.
For me, shepherd's pie is the ultimate comfort food. The hot, savoury filling, and a layer of creamy mash (with those amazing bits that go crunchy round the edge) - it is perfect for warming you up on a cold evening.
I've had a go at making a veggie shepherd's pie with Quorn before, but the challenge was to make a vegan version that was just as tasty. This recipe uses all those lovely winter root veggies (we've been getting a lot of carrots in the veg bag!), and the lentils make it more substantial. The vegan mash topping is surprisingly good; you can achieve the same texture and creaminess with vegan alternatives. Of course, if you're not feeling the vegan vibe you could use the classic combo of butter and milk.
This makes a decent amount to keep you going for a few days, and it freezes well.
Vegan lentil shepherd's pie
(Serves 4 hungry people/6 people with a more normal appetite)
1 large parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 400g tin of tomatoes
50ml red wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Marmite
1 410g tin of green lentils, drained (or equivalent amount of dried lentils, cooked)
2 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
25g soy spread (or other vegan substitute)
50ml unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp mustard (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a large pan, heat a glug of olive oil and fry the parsnip, carrot, leek and garlic until starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 4 minutes.
Add the stock, tomatoes, red wine, bay leaf, Marmite, a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the lentils and simmer for a further 10 minutes until the carrots and parsnips are cooked, but not completely soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes until soft. Add the spread and milk and mash well. Season with salt and pepper and mix through the mustard.
Place the lentil mixture in a large oven proof dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden.
Serve with green veg and -gasp- tomato ketchup (please don't tell me it's just me that likes this?!).