Lot's of talk about shepherds this time of year so what better way to eat vegan on the Tuesday before the big feast than to make a shepherd's pie! There are lot's of vegetarian recipes out there for shepherd's pie but anyone in their right mind would add butter and cream to the mashed potato topping. A layer of shredded cheese on top gives an added kick.But this being Tuesday, the challenge is to make a pie that is warm and comforting and leaves a satisfied feeling on the tongue, without the meat or dairy. I treat the vegetables and stock to a light roux to give the vegetable mixture some silkiness. This is kinda like the pot pie recipe from last week with mashed potatoes for topping instead of biscuit dough. So who cares? It is winter and mashed potatoes are our friend!
Start out by making the mashed potato topping by boiling three nicely sized russets until tender and then mash with roasted garlic or green onions, olive oil and a dash of mushroom or vegetable stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. I added minced raw garlic as I was pressed for time. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Saute five or six cups of vegetables in olive oil starting with your aromatics-chopped onion, celery, carrots, green pepper and a couple of cloves of minced garlic, until almost tender. Add chopped mushrooms and cook until they give off their liquid. Toss in a chopped tomato and saute briefly. Then add peas, corn, green beans, etc., your choice. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of thyme. Add two tablespoons flour and cook for two minutes. Slowly add about 1 1/2 vegetable stock and perhaps a shot of red wine and cook until thickened, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. The thickened sauce should run off a spoon. You don't want it two thick.
Put the vegetable mixture in an ovenproof casserole, top with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling begins to bubble up around the sides. Slide under the broiler for a minute to brown the bread crumbs. Let sit for 10 minutes and enjoy!
So what did Mary and Joseph perhaps have for dinner on that fateful night in the manger? Shepherd's Pie?
The finest gifts we bring...