Shepherd's pie is an English casserole, traditionally made with lamb or beef.
In this vegetarian version, I substitute hearty lentils for the meat.
The lentils are stewed with tomatoes, onions, and herbs de provence, a French herb mixture with a unique, floral aroma.
The stew is then topped with buttery mashed potatoes and baked.
This is comfort food at its best.
It is easy to make and is great as leftovers the next day.
Serve this on a cold winter night with a salad and some bread.
Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-lover, this dish is sure to make you happy.
Warm, Crusty Bread
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Steamed Green Beans or Broccoli
Red Wine or Beer
2 medium russet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
a 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley
Bring a quart of water to a boil in a very large pot.
Peel and cut the potatoes into six or eight pieces and place them in a steamer basket above the boiling water.
Steam the potatoes gently for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.
Let them rest for a moment off the heat to allow excess water to evaporate off of them and then transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, the salt, pepper to taste and 1/4 cup of the cream.
Mash with a potato masher, fork or electric mixer until they are smooth, adding more salt or cream as necessary.
(Sometimes, depending on the age or type of potatoes used, more or less cream will be needed to achieve a nice, creamy consistency.)
Set the potatoes aside until you are ready to assemble the casserole.
Pick through the lentils and remove any rocks or foreign objects that may be present.
Rinse and drain the lentils.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.
Add the lentils, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the lentils are tender and the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, soy sauce, herbs de provence, and parsley to the onions.
Cook for a few minutes longer.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix in the lentils and then spoon the entire mixture into a 9X9 inch baking pan.
Top with the mashed potatoes spreading the potatoes evenly over the top of the lentil mixture to cover the casserole completely.
Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered, in the oven.
Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Cut into sections and serve.
Makes 4 servings