This shepherd’s pie is my favourite one to date. It gives you just what you want from a shepherd’s pie: buttery mash, savoury filling, and cosy-comfy feels. Eat it on a sleepy Sunday or after a long day at work and marvel at its restorative powers.
Ultimate Shepherd's Pie
Makes: One big pie (serves 4-6)
Preparation time: c. 2 hours
For the filling...
2 tbsp vegan butter
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 large onions, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
400g mushrooms, finely diced
2 x 400g tins green or black lentils, drained
2 bay leaves
15g brown miso paste
600ml good-quality vegetable stock
200ml dry red wine
175ml tomato passata
2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp English mustard
Fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary: a small handful of each
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
A sprinkling of dried, ground kelp or other seaweed
A pinch of sugar
Plenty of black pepper
Salt to taste
For the potato...
1.5 kg mashing potatoes
200ml unsweetened soy milk
5 tbsp vegan butter
Salt to taste
2 large pans
Large pie dish (mine is about 12 inches in length)
Make the filling.
1./ Melt the butter (2 tbsp) in a large pan. Add in the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Fry on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes.
2./ Next add the wine, stock, tomato paste, mustard, miso, herbs, soy sauce, kelp, sugar, liquid smoke, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in the lentils and give everything a good stir. Cook on medium-high for about 15 minutes.
3./ Turn the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, or till reduced and slightly thickened. Once you’ve taken it off the heat, season to taste, and stir through the nutritional yeast.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Then make the mash. (You can start this while the filling cooks.)
4./ Peel the potatoes and chop them into large but roughly equal-sized pieces. Boil them in salted water till soft.
5./ Drain and mash them with a masher and/or fork. For extra smoothness use a moulin. Whip in the milk, butter and salt until creamy.
Pour the lentil mixture into the pie dish (remember to remove the bay leaves!) and top with the mash. Bake the pie in the oven for 30 minutes, or till golden-brown and bubbling.
Serve immediately -preferably with pickled cabbage- and enjoy!