there are some dishes you make that you just know you are going to be made time and again. this happened the first time i made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. the original recipe was quite simple with lentils and a few vegetables in a tomatoey sauce topped with mash but over the years the recipe has evolved.
the current version i make is fabulous – one batch which would easily feed 8 was wolfed down by 3 hungry greedy girls! i’ve made this version a few times now and am not struck by inspiration about what tweaks to try next, so i thought i’d share it with you to see what you think. it could be, of course, that this is the ultimate shepherd’s pie and no changes are needed!
vegetarian shepherd’s pie with goats’ cheese mash and cheesy leeks (serves 8)
300g cherry tomatoes
300g dried black-eyed beans, pre-soaked and drained
300g yellow split peas, rinsed
900g sweet potatoes
150g soft goats’ cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 large onion, peeled
1 red chilli
4 cloves garlic
250g carrots, peeled
275g swede, peeled
1 green pepper, deseeded
250g chestnut mushrooms
25g porcini, soaked, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
3 tablespoons worcester sauce (optional, this is not veggie)
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1cm slices
50g cheddar or other hard cheese
preheat the oven to 200c. halve the tomatoes and roast at 200c for 40 minutes,
put the drained black-eyed beans in a pan with the split peas, add 700ml boiling water, cover and simmer for 40mins – 1 hour, until both the beans and split peas are cooked. drain away any excess water then mash them together roughly.
boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft then mash them with the goats’ cheese, 50g butter, milk, salt and pepper.
while the potatoes are cooking, in a food processor, blitz until finely chopped, the onion, chilli, garlic, carrots, swede, green pepper and mushrooms. melt 50g of butter in a large pan and add the chopped vegetables and porcini. cook gently for 15-20 minutes until they are softened. mix with the bean/pea mix, add the sage and worcester sauce and season to taste.
spoon the mixture into a large baking dish (or several ramekins if you are doing individual portions). top with the roasted tomatoes.
top with the goats cheese mash. sprinkle the leeks on top of the potato, top with the cheese and bake at 200c for 20-35 minutes, until the top is crusty and golden.
this dish freezes well, allow to defrost before cooking.