Meat Free Shepherds Pie

Hello everyone – I hope everyone enjoyed their first proper day of spring 🙂 Despite a bit of rain here in London in the afternoon, it was soooo nice to finally have some sunshine and light past 6 o’clock. I can’t help but get excited about the long summer evenings that are on their way now – especially since we’ve got a 4 day week this week!

I know I’m a bit late with this one, but since last week was National Meat-Free week here in England (and ironically, National Butchers week too…) I thought I would share a great veggie meal, definitely one that squeezes in all your 5 a day and then some without skimping on any flavour. It’s adapted from one of my favourite ‘celebrity chefs’, Lorraine Pascale, who I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of at the Good Food Eat Well show a few weeks back and like so many of her recipes, it’s easy to make and doesn’t cost a fortune, so it pretty much ticks all the boxes.

If you’re feeding children, this can be a great way to sneak vegetables into their meals, especially with the topping and you can experiment by adding whatever veg you like – frozen peas help bulk it out even more and peppers can add a bit of crunch – go crazy! I’ve got an amazing Lentil and Sweet Potato Dhal recipe coming your way soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that – just like this one, it’s so good you definitely won’t miss the meat.

Have a great week everyone 🙂

Ingredients (Serves 6)

For the filling:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Leek, trimmed and finely chopped

2 Carrots, finely chopped

150g Chestnut Mushrooms, roughly chopped (I like to quarter mine)

1 Large Garlic Clove, finely chopped

1 x 400g Tin Green or Puy Lentils, drained

1 x 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes

2 Tsp Dried Herbs (basil, oregano and thyme work well)

300ml Vegetable Stock

250ml Red Wine

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

Salt and Ground Pepper

For the topping:

500g Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

500g Floury Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks

½ Small Cauliflower, separated into florets

Knob of butter

Splash of milk

Salt and Pepper, to season

Recipe

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.

Add the tinned lentils, tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, 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.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6.

For the topping:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the sweet potato chunks. Boil for 6-8 minutes, then add the potato chunks and continue to boil for a further 4-5 minutes. Finally, add the cauliflower and continue to boil for a further 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Drain all the veg and return them to the pan. Add the butter and milk, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then mash until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

 

Stir the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce 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.

Transfer the filling mixture to an ovenproof baking dish, then spoon over the topping and spread into an even layer. Create peaks in the mash using a fork for a crispy topping and sprinkle over a little parmesan if you’re feeling indulgent.

Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

Serve with fresh green vegetables and a bit of gravy and you can’t go wrong 🙂

You can freeze portions of this once cooked for a quick back-up mid week dinner or lunch – just defrost fully before reheating in the microwave or oven at 180 Fan for 20-25 minutes until piping hot throughout.

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Helena x

 

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