Veggie Lentil Shepherd's Pie
This is a vegetarian take on my grandmother’s excellent shepherd’s pie. Lentils and vegetables form a rich umami base which is topped with cheesy mashed potato. Add whatever vegetables you have to hand plus dark chocolate for extra richness and colour.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Soaking Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 6 people
- 8 oz whole brown lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large carrots – chopped
- 1 large stick celery – chopped
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion – chopped
- 1 courgette – chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 chestnut mushrooms
- several sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tsp tamari or shoyu (soy sauce)
- 1 400g tin baked beans
- 25 g 70% dark chocolate (optional) (I used 100%)
- 5 large floury potatoes – scrubbed and chunked
- 4 tbsp milk
- 120 g cheddar cheese - grated
- salt & pepper to taste
Soak the lentils for a few hours in cold water or for 1 hour in hot water. This reduces the cooking time. Wash well and just cover with water. Add the bay leaves and bring to the boil.
Add the carrots and celery and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
In a separate pan, fry the onions in the oil for a few minutes. Chop two of the garlic cloves and add to the pan. then add the courgette followed by the mushrooms. Fry for about 10 minutes.
Add the fried vegetables to the lentils together with the thyme, beans and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Simmer for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir well and pour into a large casserole dish or two smaller ones.
Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water with the remaining clove of garlic for about 15 minutes or until soft.
Drain the potatoes and garlic, add the milk and mash. Add 100g of the cheese and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
Spread the mash over the lentils. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for about 25 minutes when the lentils are bubbling and the mash is nicely browned on top.