Shepherd'd Pie is a classic English dish, usually made with minced lamb or mutton. In early recipe books the dish was made with leftover meat of any kind, and the dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato topping. Here we offer a new, veggie take on the traditional dish!
The veggie version uses lentils to provide important protein and substitutes sweet potato for the topping. Carnivore or vegetarian, this dish is a perfect example of a warming winter meal from England. Let us know what you think!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large carrots
(500g/1lb 2oz in total), cut into sugar-cube size pieces
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
200ml red wine
400g can chopped tomato
2 vegetable stock cubes
410g can green lentils
950g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
85g vegetarian mature cheddar, grated
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, 150ml water and the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 mins. Tip in the can of lentils, including their juice, then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite and the lentils are pulpy.
Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with the butter and season to taste. Pile the lentil mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the cheese and remaining thyme. The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20 mins if cooking straight away, or for 40 mins from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through. Serve with broccoli.
To stick closer to the traditional Shepherd's pie, use regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes for the mashed topping. These will need slightly longer to boil.
If you want to do a meateaters' version of Shepherd's Pie, see BBC Good Food's recipe here.