Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

This was one of my best creations of the month!

Start by sauteing onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in coconut oil. Once they are translucent and caramelized, add in some fresh thyme and rosemary. Cook another minute to soften the herbs. Deglaze the pan with a 3/4 cup of red wine (I keep a jar in the fridge of any leftovers from when people don't finish their glass), and cook off the alcohol until just a sticky syrup is left. Add a cup of tomato puree and reduce that as well. Next, pour in a cup of hot water and bring everything to a boil. Add in lots of sliced mushrooms, and cook until their are soft. Add in a cup of fresh or frozen peas, and pre-cooked lentils (I keep them in my fridge all week for salad toppings, and these were the leftovers). Cook the stew-y mixture down until it looks like vegetables and gravy. Keeping the lid off the saute pan the whole time will quickly evaporate the liquid. Add a little slurry of cornstarch or flour and water to thicken the mixture even more. Cook for a few minutes more to erase the starchy taste. Stir in a generous handful of chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in between all the steps, boil some chopped up sweet potatoes and/or white potatoes. When they are done, drain and return to the pot to steam off as much of the moisture as you can. Mash with some more coconut oil (or butter, if you're a happy passenger on butter train), salt, pepper, and milk or water. I like to add something a little tangy as well, like a splash of coconut kefir yogurt; but sour cream would work perfectly.

Now you're ready to assemble! Pour your saucy shepherd's pie base into a greased casserole dish. Dollop on your mashed potatoes and spread over. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. We got extra fancy and made a "cheesy bread crumb" topping by blending together pumpkin/sunflower seeds with nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and chopped parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the mashed potatoes and bake another 10 minutes until they are toasted golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let everything settle for 10 minutes before cutting into it. This shepherd's pie makes the best leftovers, too! The base will thicken as it cools and then slice perfectly. That said, I'd rather not have this lying around in the fridge for midnight munchies, so this fellow can take it back to Kingston!

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