Hi everyone! Happy St. Bridget’s day for yesterday, 1st February, which – here in Ireland – is also the first day of Spring!
Shepherd’s pie is a very traditional dish in Ireland and the UK and unfortunately lamb mince is the main ingredient. This is neither healthy or ethical. But this lentil and vegetable version is full of fibre, nutrients, and is low in fat.
The credit for the following recipe goes to mother dearest again. She’s a genius in the kitchen even though she doesn’t know it. It’s so second nature to her that she takes it for granted. Hand on my heart now, this shepherd’s pie is unbelievable!!! It’s so full of flavour and warm and comforting and filling and a perfect winter staple. And no cruelty involved.
I sourced the vegetables used in this dish – the potatoes included – from a local organic farm in my home county of Donegal.
Ballyholey farm grow an abundance of vegetables chemical and pesticide free and you can really tell the quality of their vegetables is far superior to the bog standard supermarket stuff. They are out every Saturday morning – in all weather conditions, rain, hail or snow, harvesting for selling at the Letterkenny Artisan Market that same day. Now that’s fresh!
I hope you enjoy this modern take on a traditional dish and I really hope you’ll choose to make this one from now on instead of the original cruelty-ridden version.
Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 1 hour approx.
You will need:
8-10 potatoes peeled
2 medium onions
2 large carrots
10 button mushrooms (or equivalent)
4 stalks of celery
2 garlic cloves
200g brown or green lentils (dry)
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 big teaspoon of mixed herbs (feel free to use more if you want)
½ – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (yes you read right – cinnamon)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp soya butter
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
500ml boiling water
Salt & pepper
- Soak your lentils in water for 2/3 hours before you start cooking. If you don’t do this they will take a lot longer to cook.
- Peel, wash and put your potatoes on to boil.
- Finely dice your onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms and crush your garlic.
- Put a casserole pot on a medium heat and add your soya butter.
- When melted add the onions and sweat them off until they start to go translucent.
- Add the garlic and sweat until both the onion and garlic are soft and translucent.
- Add the rest of the veg and cook for another 10 minutes – stirring constantly.
- When the veg has softened and started to brown add in your flour and stir through so it coats the veg.
- Then add the flavourings – salt, pepper, cinnamon, mixed herbs and parsley. Stir these through.
- Make 500ml of stock using your water and vegetable stock cube.
- Mix the tomato puree into the stock.
- Then start adding your stock to the veg very slowly. Every time your pour some stock into the veg stir it through until it has absorbed and slightly thickened.
- Then drain your lentils and them to the pot and stir through.
- If this makes the mixture too dry add some more boiling water in small amounts. If you need to add a lot of water you can throw in another half a stock cube so you don’t dilute all the flavour.
- Leave the mixture to simmer for around 40-45 minutes but check it and stir it constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. Keep the heat low to avoid this happening.
- Add in a about a tablespoon of brown sauce at the end of the cooking process and stir it though.
- When the lentil mix is cooked through add it to your baking dish.
- Mash your potatoes with soya butter and unsweetened soya milk or another plant milk (I would not recommend anything sweet or almond milk).
- Spread the mashed potato over the top of the lentil mix, smoothing it out with a fork. We added some parsley on top.
- If you have any Violife cheese you could add this over the top but that is optional.
- Then bake the shepherd’s pie a hot oven for 20-30 minutes until the potato starts to go golden brown. If you don’t bake it until the following day it will need longer.
- When it’s ready put your hands together and give thanks that NO animal was harmed in the making of your dinner and enjoy! 🙂