Welcome to the 29th installment of Meatless Monday with Mindy
Fall is here.
And with that comes all the cravings for "stick to your ribs" comfort foods.
I woke up knowing what I wanted to make today. I went through my Irish cookbooks and several websites until I figured out what ingredients I wanted to use. It was a fun search, I even found out how Shepherds pie came to be!
Actually there are two stories behind the creation of this humble dish. Shepherds pie is the later version of what started out as Cottage Pie. The cottage pie came about when potatoes were introduced as an edible crop for folks living in poverty (in cottages) over in the UK and Ireland in the 1500's. It was a meat pie, mainly mutton, lined and topped with mashed potatoes. Later, beef would show up in these pies while at the same time some vegetables began to appear. These were mostly the winter vegetables that had dried up. Sometimes these were used along with the first vegetables of the spring, mainly peas. This afforded a hearty meal using what little they had left before the growing season began again.
You must be wondering why I'm talking about meat dishes on Meatless Monday. I want to let you know that you can still have all those wonderful flavors you've come to know and love without all the meat, fat and high calories that are clogging your arteries, while getting in the vegetables that we seem to neglect.
Actually, according to the US diet 'report card', beef consumption is lowest since the 1950s (yay us!). However, Americans are eating 23 POUNDS of cheese a year!
The hefty serving of cheese, teamed with increased consumption of fats and oils has resulted in our overall calorific intake soaring to 2,535 a day.
While we are cutting back on sugars, beef, whole milk and white flour, we still desperately need to increase our vegetable consumption. What better way to incorporate more veggies in our diets than tucking them into some good old fashioned Shepherds Pie. Skip the meat. You'll never even miss it!
Vegan Shepherds Pie
4 cups vegetable broth plus some for sautéing
2 medium carrots diced
2 medium potatoes diced
2 stalks celery chopped
1 medium onion chopped
4-5 garlic cloves sliced, or finely chopped
1 large portabello mushroom, sliced
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp sea salt
3 TB flour
6 TB water
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
3 large potatoes, chopped, coarsely chunked
2 TB Earth Balance margarine
½ - ¾ cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
salt to taste
Begin by chopping all your vegetables and measuring out your other ingredients. Most of these ingredients do not have to be exact but this is a good start. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Start your potatoes for the potato crust. Put your chopped potatoes in a large saucepan. (Remember to keep some potatoes aside for the veggie mixture). Add water to just cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes or until soft enough to mash. When done, drain and set aside.
In a large pot, pour 4 cups of vegetable broth. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and bring to a boil with medium heat.
While the veggies are cooking, sauté the onions and garlic in a broth lined skillet on medium heat until the onions become translucent, adding more broth if it becomes dry.
Add the mushroom and black pepper. Add the herbs stirring until well incorporated.
Cook another minute or two.
Add the onion/mushroom mix to the vegetable stock pot. Add peas, corn and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Mix the flour and water together and pour into the vegetable broth mixture, stirring well until it thickens.
Add the kidney beans. Turn heat to low and let simmer while you make the mashed potatoes.
Mash your boiled potatoes with the margarine, salt and non-dairy milk. To make them super creamy, use a mixer. To keep it more rustic, hand mash and leaves chunks. It's your preference here.
Pour the vegetable mixture into an oven-safe baking dish.
Pipe or spoon the mashed potatoes to cover the entire top of the dish. If you're wondering about the dark spots in these potatoes, I used red potatoes and left the peelings on. Good stuff Maynard.
Once you have the mashed potatoes on top, pop this dish into the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are just starting to brown. Pull out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It will thicken up slightly as it cools.
Spoon this into a dish and enjoy!