Friday, 26 November 2010

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

I am trying to incorporate more fibre into my diet, which is proving much more difficult that I thought it would be. I don't really eat much fruit at this time of year, I much prefer summer fruits which just don't taste the same in autumn/winter. I also don't really like wholemeal bread and detest granary bread, so the easy things to get into my diet I don't like to eat all the time. I have opted for eating more lentils and beans instead as I like both of them and they are quite easy to use instead of potato for a meal. This Vegetarian Shepherds Pie is one of the meals that I've tried. It was really filling and I didn't miss the meat at all.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4-6)

2 red onions
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
a small bunch of fresh rosemary
2 x 400g tins of lentils
olive oil
1 x 400g can of plum tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
1.5kg Desiree potatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g Cheddar cheese, grated
100ml whole milk
a large knob of butter
1 fresh nutmeg, for grating

Peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Pick the rosemary leaves, discard the stalks, finely chop half of leaves and put the rest to one side. Drain the lentils.

Heat a large pan on a medium heat and add a tbsp oil. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the pan. Cook gently with the lid on for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped rosemary leaves, tinned tomatoes and stock and stir well. Bring to the boil, then add the drained lentils, reduce to a low heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until thick.

To make the mash topping:

Peel the potatoes, cut them into halves and quarters depending on their size, and put them into a pan of salted, boiling water. Boil for about 10 minutes until tender. Stick a knife into them to check they’re soft all the way through.

Drain in a colander and return them to the pan. Grate the Cheddar cheese. Add the milk, butter, most of the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan. Mash until smooth and creamy.

Preheat the oven to 190ÂșC. Transfer the lentil mixture to a large ovenproof baking dish. Spoon the mash evenly over the top, poke the remaining rosemary leaves into it to decorate and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, then cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

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