Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

I've been pondering recipes for some hearty, "man-pleasing" dishes, because I know some of you are cooking for family members who would really rather be eating meat, but are humoring your vegan dabbling in hopes that you'll be over it soon. I want to help you win them over to the healthier, more compassionate Veg Side, so last night I made my first Shepherd's Pie. It was good, but not perfect, and it took a lot longer to make than I thought it would. I wasn't going to say anything about it at all, except that Rick really went kind of crazy for it (being vegan between parties), so I thought maybe you could modify it a bit and wow the omnivores in your life.

As I got going on this, I realized there were several steps to be done before I could put it all together and bake it. You need a crust, a gravy, a mashed topping, and a veggie filling. The first thing I did was get distracted by a lovely, delicate cauliflower leaf. I can't help myself. Art is everywhere. I talked about this in my other blog today, if you're interested, but I'll try to stick to the cooking part here. 


I eventually steamed and mashed the cauliflower, making my alternate to mashed potatoes for the top of the pie. You could of course use regular mashers if you want to. Next I made a crust out of nut pulp left from a batch of almond milk, mixed with chopped mushrooms, a little quinoa flour, and some chia seeds. I baked it for a little while before filling it, and although it tasted really good, it was still a bit too moist. You might want to use a regular sort of pie crust if you're good at making them, or even buy one ready to fill. 

The gravy was delicious, made with onions, quinoa flour, mushrooms, broth, and a splash of wine. Once it was thickened, I filled the crust with peas, carrots, corn, and broccoli, poured the gravy over the veggies, and spread the mashed cauliflower over the top. I baked it for 30 minutes at 350ยบ, but by this time I had been making dinner for almost 2 hours, and we were starving. I hesitate to show you the following picture, because I forgot to even take it until after we'd eaten. That's how hungry we were. But you get the idea...

Basically, this was really good, full of flavor and truly satisfying. Try it yourself, with your own customizations. You could also add some tempeh or veggie burger crumbles for more texture and "authenticity." I'll make this again, with a little work on the crust mostly. When I get it really right, I'll take better pictures...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, glad to hear quinoa flour thickens. I just got some but am not in the cooking experimenting mode this week - so thanks for that info. Also, to let you off the hook, I've never had a shepherd's pie that had a bottom crust. They are usually somewhat soupy with the traditional mashed potato topping, often browned. I like dishes like this in individual ramekins - less messy. I think brown rice could fit nicely somewhere in this recipe, too - absolutely yum.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Kim, I forgot to sign the comment, Norine