I saw this on the Food Network on Chuck’s Day Off and it tastes as good as it looked on TV – it’s a lot of prep, but a fair potion of it can be done at least a day ahead. On Thursday Brock made up some burgers and some some his guacamole and we enjoyed the Shepherd’s Pie with some barbecued sausage, pickled beets and a salad on Friday night with some friends.
The pie is basically 3 layers, and this recipe fills a good-sized 9 x 13 lasagna dish – I made a bit extra of all of the layers and put a smaller casserole in the freezer for a later date. Read through the recipe a few times first – it looks daunting, but it’s not hard! It just takes a bit of time.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 good-sized carrots AND 2 celery stalks, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. (about 8 c.) mushrooms, diced
2 t. salt AND 1 t. freshly ground pepper
2 c. fresh bread crumbs AND 1 c. milk
1/2 c. roasted pine nuts
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 T. EACH fresh basil, chopped AND fresh thyme, stems not used
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1 c. dried green lentils, cooked
1 good-sized spaghetti squash – about 3 lbs.
1 large head of garlic (kept whole for roasting)
6 good-sized white potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 lbs.)
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. goat cheese
1/4 to 1/2 c. whipping cream
Several shallots, cleaned and thinly sliced, then fried until they start to get crisp.
The Day (or so) Before
Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil, then carefully pour on water so that a thin, visible layer covers the whole sheet. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove all of the seeds then set it cut side down into the water on the baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour until the squash has softened then allow it to cool before handling it. At the same time, slice a thin layer off of the top of the head of garlic, pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the open end and wrap well in foil before placing it into the oven with the squash – the garlic should only take a half hour or so to roast.
For the bottom layer, chop and prep the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and place them together in a bag or bowl to refrigerate and also clean and chop the mushrooms and put them in a bag or bowl to refrigerate.
While the squash and garlic are roasting and you’re chopping vegetables, the lentils can be cooking on your stove top – cook according to the package directions, and they should usually be rinsed first.
When the garlic is ready, wait for it to cool and then squeeze out each clove into a container to refrigerate, and once the squash is cool, use a fork to scrape out the flesh into a bowl, toss with a bit of salt and pepper and refrigerate.
Toast the pine nuts and use your food processor to make bread crumbs if you need to.
The Day Of
Peel and start the potatoes to boil, and at the same time, heat a large skillet, add a bit of oil and begin to saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Once the vegetables have cooked for 5 to 10 minutes and softened a bit, add in the mushrooms, salt and pepper and continue to cook and stir for another 10 to 15 minutes then remove the skillet from the heat. Once the potatoes are boiled until you can easily pierce them with a fork, drain them well and then return them to their pot for mashing.
Preheat your oven to 400 and grease a large 9 x 13 casserole.
In a separate bowl, pour the milk into the bread crumbs and leave them for a few minutes to soak up all of the milk. Add in the pine nuts, eggs, basil, thyme and parsley and stir to combine. Add the crumb mixture into the cooked vegetables along with the cooked lentils and stir to combine well. Your bottom layer is now complete, so spread it evenly into your prepared casserole.
Add the prepared squash as an even layer on top of the vegetable and lentil layer.
Mash the potatoes with the butter, goat cheese and roasted garlic and then add enough cream to make them really smooth. Layer the potatoes on top of the squash and smooth them out.
Bake for about an hour and be sure to check it every 20 minutes. If the potatoes are getting too brown, lay a piece of foil over top the whole casserole. As the pie is cooking, fry the shallots with a bit of oil and butter in a skillet so that they are ready for the garnish.
- Category: One-pot Meal, Vegetarian