Friday, 25 July 2008

Vegetarian Shepards Pie



Its cold in my part of the world at the moment. Not as cold as its gets in many other parts of the world, but cold enough that you hate getting into bed at night ‘cos its like ice, hate getting out of bed in the morning ‘cos its just so cosy, shiver while you wait for the bus and time to eat nice comforting food like Shepards Pie.

I made this one recently for my dear friends Ehren, Kate, Tony and my sister Surya. Surya and I weren’t too excited about it and thought it could have used some tomato paste and more seasoning and more herbs but everyone else really liked it. I would like to make again soon and tweak the taste a little.

This recipe came from Delia, who is one of my favourite celebrity chefs, and I think was maybe one of the first whom I fell in love with many years ago. She’s got quite a reputation in the UK, but not so much here, but her books are like bibles of the kitchen to me. The recipe and amounts are very specific, I’m not that type of cook, so feel free to work with this one as you like. I didn’t note amounts of veges etc which is annoying, sorry. I also didn’t add goats cheese to the mash as Delia states, just some grated cheese and paprika on top.

110 g dried black-eyed beans, pre-soaked and drained
75 g green split peas (no need to soak), rinsed
75 g green lentils (no need to soak), rinsed
50 g peeled carrots
50 g peeled swede
50 g peeled celeriac
1 large onion, peeled
1 small green pepper, deseeded
50 g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
225 g tomatoes
2 heaped tbs chopped rosemary
2 heaped tbs chopped parsley
¼ level teaspoon ground mace
¼ level teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

For the topping:
700 g potatoes, peeled
50 g butter
2 tbs milk
25 g Pecorino cheese, grated
1 cup grated cheddar
Sprinkling of paprika
salt and freshly milled black pepper


Soak and drain the black-eyed beans overnight if you have time and think of it in 2 pints (1.2 litres) cold water. If you need them now, bring them up to the boil (using the same amount of water), boil for 10 minutes and leave them to soak for two hours before draining.

Next, put the drained beans into a saucepan with the split peas and lentils. Add 1¼ pints (725 ml) boiling water and some salt, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until the pulses have absorbed the water and are soft. Remove them from the heat and mash a little with a large fork.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C, and put the potatoes on to cook. Once they are cooked, roughly chop all the vegetables, pile the whole lot into a food processor and process until chopped small. Next, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the vegetables and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring now and then until they're softened and tinged gold at the edges.
After that, add the vegetables to the pulses mixture, along with the herbs, spices and salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste.

As soon as the potatoes are cooked, mash them with the butter, pecerino and milk, season well with salt and freshly milled black pepper and spread the potato over the rest of the ingredients in the dish. Finally, sprinkle over the cheddar and paprika and bake the pie on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. If you want to prepare this in advance, it will need about 40 minutes in the oven.

Sathya-rating ***

1 comment:

Jj said...

Sounds really good for a vegetarian version - and looks really good on the picture, too!