Monday, March 19, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is one of those comfort foods most people have had more than once in their lifetime. I however have not. It's not something my mom made much while growing up. I would assume this is because her family did not make it. We had many other comfort foods that one day I will perfect the vegan way and add to my future cookbook! One of my dad's favorites was a meatball soup my mom and sister made. I loved it too! I will try my best to recreate and have my dad taste. He will be the true judge!

The hubby loves Shepherd's Pie so I thought I'd take a crack at it. I looked up several different recipes and kind of put one together I thought might be good. The only item I missed was peas but he was happy because I added corn. Next time there will be peas!

So here's the recipe, version 1:

The good stuff list:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup red wine (Sangiovese from Trader Joe's is perfect and inexpensive!)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into large dice
2 pounds baby bella mushrooms, sliced or quartered, whichever you prefer
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
5 medium garlic cloves or more if you are a garlic lover, finely chopped or pressed
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon worcestersire sauce (vegan)
2/3 cup soy or other plant based milk
2 Tablespoons non dairy butter

In a medium bowl whisk together the broth, wine, and tomato paste until smooth. Stir in dried mushrooms and set aside to reconstitute, at least 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms before using, reserving liquid

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water by about 2 inches. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat a large saute pan with one turn of oil around the pan on high heat. Turn down heat to medium, medium-high and add 1 lb of mushrooms. Add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of salt to allow the juices to flow from the mushrooms. Do not over crowd your pan. Cook until brown and limp. Remove from pan and place into a bowl, set aside. Add more oil, turn of the pan, and the other 1 lb of mushrooms with salt. You can add the reconstituted mushrooms as well. Cut them up if they are not bite sized.

Once the mushrooms have been removed from the pan add a little more oil, turn of the pan (usually about 1 tbl). Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook until softened and golden, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and herbs and season well with salt and pepper. Add kidney beans and corn. Cook until browned and softened, 6 minutes.

Add the wine mixture to the pan and deglaze by stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Let cook until simmering and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the worcestersire sauce then stir in the reserved mushrooms and any of their liquid and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve in pan.

When the potatoes are ready drain well. Return to pan and mash until uniformly smooth. Fold in 2 tbl non-dairy butter and milk adding more if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, garlic is good to season with as well. If necessary, keep warm over low heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Taste the filling to ensure you like the seasoning (this is where I added other seasonings like garlic, basil, a little more salt and pepper). The hubby likes extra worcestersire sauce so I add a little to the mashed potatoes and more to the filling. Place the filling in a 11X7 pan and dot with the potatoes and spread to edges of pan to cover completely. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Turn your oven to broil and move the pan to the top to get a nice browning on the top, about 2 minutes. Watch this step as to not burn the potatoes.

Things I will try next time to spruce it up a bit:
I will probably omit about 8 oz of mushrooms or omit the dried ones all together. I will add peas as well as corn. The hubby suggested we try artichokes in the filling for a little added heartiness. I will definitely work on this recipe a little more. I liked it but was hoping it would have a little more boldness to it. It is quite tasty though, as is. Be sure to taste the filling to add seasoning as you see fit. I tend to eyeball my seasoning so I don't have exact measurements. Next time I make it I will measure out what I add.

Shepherd's Pie

Cheers and happy eating!

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