I will frequently write about how something cannot be called a Shepherds Pie unless it is made with Minced Lamb. Yet here I have a recipe for a vegetarian shepherds pie. Something must be wrong in this!
Well, I take liberties just like most food writers. It may differ from the traditional but it still makes for what we in England would call good grub which is what matters.
This version combines vegetarian mince and red kidney beans in a rich tomato sauce to create a great almost Shepherds Pie that is vegetarian friendly.
It can take a while to make mashed potatoes so I sometimes avoid the shepherds pie approach to dinner. Yet with a few veggies on the side, a great meal awaits you. So the excuses had to stop.. Now a vegetarian shepherds pie may not be authentic but it fulfilled the two main goals of cooking which are 1. Tastes good and 2. Fills the stomach A definite success
- 200g/8oz Vegetarian Mince
- ½ 400g/15oz can Red Kidney Beans
- ½ 400g/15oz can Chopped Tomato
- 1 medium brown Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ small Red Pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 250ml/½ pint Vegetable Stock
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- 500g/1lb Mashed Potato
- Crumble a vegetable stock cube into a cup or jug. Add boiling water then mix well to dissolve Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/450°F/Gas 6.
- Peel and chop the onion.
- Top and tail the red pepper then deseed and use a paring knife to cut off the white bits. Chop.
- Peel the garlic cloves then chop or crush.
- Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker pot. It is at the right temperature when a small piece of onion thrown in will sizzle.
- Add the onion and the pepper to the hot oil and stir well to get them evenly coated. Fry for 1-2 minutes then add in the garlic and continue for a further minute.
- Add in the vegetarian mince, stir well then fry for a further 2-3 minutes to soften and blend the flavours.
- Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Add ½ the can into the pan and put the remainder into a sealed container with a destination of the fridge.
- Spoon half the can of tomatoes into the pan. Pour the remainder into a container for the fridge but retain the can for the next step.
- Half fill the tomato can with vegetable stock then swill it around to get the last of the tomato out. Add the mixture into the pressure cooker pot then add a little more stock so that it looks a little runny.
- Add in some tomato paste which will both colour and thicken.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Close up the pressure cooker and raise the pressure over a high heat. Reduce once it starts to steam then cook for about 5 minutes then carefully reduce the pressure.
- That is the vegetarian shepherds pie base completed.
- Prepare ahead of time then keep in the fridge. This is a deliberate leftover which is well worth doing.
- Spoon the vegetarian shepherds pie base mixture into an oven proof dish. The aim is to roughly half fill a 20cm/8in dish. If the base mixture contains too much liquid then us a slotted spoon for this, Much better to serve a little extra gravy at the end than to have the mashed potato sink,
- Using a dessert spoon, cover the sauce with mashed potato. The trick is to work around the edges first but switching from one side of the dish to another. Then fill in the middle and smooth over. Use a fork to make railway tracks on the top surface. Well that was what we always called them when I was a kid.
- Cook in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. The mashed potato topping should come up brown and crisp.
- Serve with some green vegetables such as broad beans or peas. Carrots are also good for some added colour.
Vary the flavour of the base by adding in herbs or spices. The possibilities are infinite though either a chilli taste or one based on a few pinches of herbes de provence would be a start for your flavour experiment.