Veggie Shepherd’s Pie for Easter

Ingredients:

• Olive oil and butter
• 1 onion – finely chopped
• 1 stick of celery – finely chopped
• 1 medium carrot – finely chopped
• 1/2 leek – finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic – grated
• Salt and pepper
• A selection of fresh herbs (I used rosemary and thyme)
• 500g vegetarian mince (you could use lamb mince here)
• 140g ready-cooked lentils
• 1 tablespoon plain flour
• 1 tablespoon tomato puree
• 1 litre good quality vegetable stock
• 1 large glass of red wine (optional)
• 1 teaspoon yeast extract
• 100g frozen peas
• At least 400g frozen mash – defrosted


Words by:
Dominic Franks
Featured in:
April 2022

Perfect for sharing this Easter, Dominic Franks suggests a shepherd’s pie that will please everyone.

This Easter long weekend I only want to eat food that’s packed with flavour and easy to make so that I’m not slaving over a hot stove whilst the family are enjoying each other’s company in another room. I also want to make big ‘family style’ dishes that sit in the middle of the table, and everyone just helps themselves.

This veggie shepherd’s pie will please everyone. It’s packed with lovely fresh veggies and I’m using lentils and vegetarian mince to make it extra rich and filling. I’m also totally cheating with the topping by using my favourite frozen mash. You can boil and mash your own potatoes of course but quite frankly when they make it this good, why bother?

This is the ultimate one pot dish (again, what could be better for a family meal than less washing up?) and I am using my 30cm cast iron shallow casserole dish with a lid, but it could be done in a large pan that can go from hob to oven, or even a roasting tin that can start on the hob.

METHOD
• Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)
• Place your pan on a medium heat, add a little olive oil and butter and throw in the onions, celery and carrot. Stir until coated and then sauté gently for about 8 min until they begin to soften.
• Stir in the garlic, leeks, herbs and sauté and simmer for a further 5 min until the leek is soft. Stir in the mince and let it brown with the veg, then stir in the lentils. Let the whole thing gently sauté for another 5 min, stirring regularly. Finally stir in the flour.
• Add the tomato puree, then the stock, wine and yeast extract and let it gently bubble away for 5 min as the sauce thickens. Then stir in the peas.
• Prepare the mash how you like it. (I’m using frozen mash which I defrost, and add a little more butter for extra fabulousness.) Carefully spread this on the top of your dish. Don’t make the top too smooth. You want a few peaks and troughs, so they catch in the oven and turn golden and crispy.
• Bake for 30 min or until the mash is a little golden.
• Serve in the centre of the table with a big green salad.



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