Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I bought a giant thing of russet potatoes last week, thinking that mashed potatoes would be a good post-wisdom-teeth food. I didn't really get around to eating them up. So I decided to make a shepherd's pie, with a nice mashed potato crust. I had never made one before but it was pretty simple, if a bit time-consuming. I went by the recipe in How It All Vegan (which I feel I should point out is on page 110, because it's not listed in the index, or at least I couldn't find it under Shepherd's Pie or Entrees).

I made the mashed potatoes first, in the morning. I also cooked some lentils. I didn't have green lentils like the recipe calls for, so I used brown. Later I came back and sauteed the veggies and assembled the pie and baked it. I was worried that the pie would be on the dry side, since there's no gravy. So, while it was baking, I made a batch of Sage Gravy from Vegan Comfort Food.

For me, the gravy really made the pie, but Tony preferred it without, so it's a matter of personal taste. I thought it turned out perfectly. It's comfort food but it's also healthy. Next time I make it, I'll add some cubed tofu, because the lack of protein made it hard to feel full. I also think it's a pain to cook the lentils first, especially when the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup. Next time I'll probably add 1/4 cup red lentils and 1/2 cup gravy to the veggie mixture, and let the lentils cook while the pie is baking. Red lentils cook up super fast because they are tiny, so I think that would work. Finally, the recipe calls for onion, carrots, spinach, celery and tomato, but you could throw in any vegetable under the sun and it would work, so it's a great way to clean out the crisper drawer in your fridge (or use up your garden bounty, for you lucky ones with gardens!)

Now I'm off to our local library for the first time to get a library card. They're supposed to have a great children's section, so I'm excited to get Jackson some new books to read, for free. Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I actually was a librarian, so I feel a little embarrassed that I've lived here for nine months and I'm just now visiting the library! Oh well, at least I'm doing it now. What are your plans for the day?


  1. This looks so great! I bet its perfect for winter.

    Have fun at the library! Thats included in my day too!

  2. Hi! The Shepherd's Pie looks great! I have a question that is slightly off topic. I am trying to branch out with my vegan recipes, and I want to try to make something with tempeh. I've heard that you have to steam it before you use it. How exactly do you do that? Do you steam yours before you use it?
    Thank you and I hope you are feeling better!

  3. steam tempeh? i have never heard that before. weird. this shephard's pie sounds and looks great. do you mean protein as filler, because lentils have a ton of protein. keep up the good work and posting of delicious foods! your blog is great!!

  4. @Robbin, I think steaming helps remove the bitter fermented taste from tempeh. If you're going to bake the tempeh for awhile, like with BBQ tempeh, it's not totally necessary. But if it's not gonna get cooked very long in your recipe, like you're just throwing it into a stir-fry, then I'd go ahead and steam it. I don't own a proper steamer so I place the tempeh slices (or crumbled tempeh, or however you're using it) in a wire mesh colander, then I place the colander in a soup pot filled with 1 inch of boiling water. I put the lid on the pot and let it steam for about 15 minutes.

    @Rikki, duh, I completely forgot about lentils being protein! :) I guess I didn't use enough lentils in my pie to make me feel full, but yeah, you're right, they are normally very filling. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. That is a beautiful pie! I love shepherd's pies made with lentils! Have you ever had Lancashire hotpot? It's a somewhat similar concept, but the topping is sliced potatoes (boiled previously) instead of mashed. It's so yummy too!

    Enjoy the library! :)

  6. Looks great! There's a nice version in Veganomicon, too.

  7. Thanks for the info about the tempeh! I have heard so many different things!