Vegetable shepherd’s pie

vegetarian_shepherds_pie_73637_16x9Can you believe that we’re already a month in to 2017? We can’t either! So to welcome February in, we’ve got this recipe for a hearty shepherd’s pie to share with you all. But there’s a slight twist – it’s totally vegetarian, so you’re getting a whole load of goodness whilst fighting off the February chill.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin green or Puy lentils, drained
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 500g in total), peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 floury potatoes (about 500g), peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • half a small cauliflower, leaves and root removed, separated into florets
  • knob of unsalted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan (optional)

Method

  1. For the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the carrots, mushrooms and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring regularly for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the sage, thyme, tinned lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock and red wine, and stir together until well combined. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until it is simmering and continue to simmer for 18-20 minutes while you make the topping.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200c/180 fan/gas mark 6.
  4. For the topping, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil (there’s no need to add salt). Add the sweet potato and floury potato, and boil for 10-12 minutes. Add the cauliflower and boil for a further 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Drain the vegetables well and return them to the pan. Add the butter, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper, then mash until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Stir the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chilli flakes (if using) and sugar (if using) into the filling mixture, which should have thickened during cooking. Continue to simmer for a further 1-2 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry (simmer for longer if the mixture is too watery). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer the filling mixture to an ovenproof baking dish, then spoon over the topping and spread into an even layer. If you like a crispy topping, create peaks in the mash by using a fork. Sprinkle over the parmesan, if using.
  8. Bake the shepherd’s pie in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

Serve it up whilst still warm with a side of broccoli, cauliflower and a splash of gravy, and you’re good to go! This is the perfect main meal for cold evenings, and is sure to win over vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

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