We all love the beautiful smell of a delicious Sunday lunch or dinner either during the festive period or just when we feel like it. The classic Shepherd’s pie is a meat pie with a mashed potato topping and originates from the United Kingdom (according to Wikipedia).
This recipe can be interpreted in different ways and as I transitioned into becoming a flexitarian, I wanted to enjoy the rich texture of this meal while eliminating meat but maintaining it’s originality.
I have certainly made tremendous progress to becoming a flexitarian and ensuring that I still get that meaty texture in my food is very important (sorry I still get greedy for meat), but I’m GRATEFUL that we now have alternatives to meat in supermarkets and this has been very handy during my transitioning period as I now use Quorn mince for most of my meat textured recipes. I know that Quorn can be expensive but there are other alternatives such as Lentils that can be used to achieve the same goal.
I won’t bore you with the origin of Quorn mince but let’s dive right into its benefits:
- High in protein
- Gluten free
- Made from low saturated fats
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie: Cooking time – 45 – 50mins
- Quorn mince – 1 medium or small pack
- Mixed vegetable – with 4 to 5 varieties of vegetables such carrots, sweet corn, green peas, broccoli, green beans e.t.c.
- Brown Onions – 1 medium sized, peeled, washed and sliced
- Large Red/Green/Yellow Bell Peppers – 1/2 of each
- Potatoes/Mashed Potato (ready made or powdered) – 5 round potatoes
- Soya milk – 100ml
- Tomatoes – 3 medium sized or 1 large tomato on a vine
- Sunflower spread – 25g
- Sunflower Oil
- Vegetable Stock Cubes – 1 cube
- Thyme – 2 tbsp
- Water – 1 cup (depends on your decision to add the broth to the pie)
- Curry Powder – 1/2 tbsp (optional)
- Sea Salt – 1 tbsp
- Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into 2 inch chunks. Place in a clean sauce pan and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Add a pinch of salt, bring the water to boil for 15mins until the potatoes are well cooked (do this by using a clean utensil to check the texture of the potatoes), then drain the water from the potatoes by using a sieve. Mash the potatoes by using a potato masher, add another pinch of salt, add oil as required, 2 medium sized spoon scoops of sunflower butter and 100mls of soya milk (I use soya milk instead of cheese because it’s lactose free and it gives the mashed potatoes a fluffy texture, creamy taste and richness).
- For the filling: to have a rich filling, you have to make the sauce first then add the Quorn mince 10mins at the end of preparation or marinate the Quorn mince 30 – 45mins before making the filling. Heat 1tbsp of sunflower oil and 1tbsp of sunflower spread in a saucepan over medium heat, add your sliced onion, defrosted mixed veg, chopped red, green and yellow bell peppers. Cook for 5-10mins until the vegetables have softened.
- To prepare the Quorn mince (if not marinated before hand) /lentils: heat 1tbsp of sunflower oil/spread in a pan, add the Quorn mince when the oil is hot and cook until the mince has browned (I know Quorn mince has a tough texture so i add about 1/2 cup of water towards the end of browning to aid the softening process).
- Once the mince has browned and is slightly soft, add thyme and curry. Add this mixture to the well cooked vegetables from earlier, remember to add this to the vegetables towards the last 10mins of the veg preparation time.
- Add the last 1/2 cup of water and cook until the water has reduced by half. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 mins more. Add the vegetable stock cube and stir thoroughly into the mince. Season with salt. Stir occasionally and allow to cook for 20mins.
- Cover the pan and allow to cook for an additional 20mins over low heat. Taste the mince, at this point it should have softened and if it hasn’t add some water or homemade vegetable broth, cover and allow to cook for another 20mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180oC for fan ovens ( Gas mark 6).
- Using a clean baking dish, spread the filling evenly over the bottom of the dish. Use a spoon to scoop the mashed potatoes over the top of the filling and spread evenly.
- Using a fork, run it across the top of the mashed potatoes to create the ripple/dune effect. Use a cooking/baking brush to spread some oil over the surface of the mashed potatoes.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake pie for 35 to 40mins, until the top is golden brown. Serve when ready with any sides of your choice.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts with me.
Till next time, enjoy your meal.