Years ago when I first started getting really serious about being more careful with money I started reading the "Frugal Queen" blog and I am still hooked. She and her hubby have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can achieve great things if you both work hard together and share the same dream. Being frugal isn't a lifestyle choice on its own but rather a tool to help you reach your goals and dreams for the future.
The idea for this recipe came from "Froogs" but until now I hadn't made it. It is just a meatless variety of good old fashioned Shepherds Pie using Puy lentils and veggies for the base and of course a mashed potato topping. This quantity makes quite the dish, and will easily feed 4 to 6 hungry adults. It is packed full of goodness and has a lovely flavour that you get from the long sautéed veggies.
Two points that are important when cooking with lentils, always pick them over before using and don't add salt before they are cooked. Over the years I have had my fair share of small stones amongst lentils, you don't want to find them with your teeth and secondly if you add salt before the lentils are cooked they will go tough and never seem to soften. Now on with the recipe.
Ingredients for Shepherdess Pie, clockwise from top right-
1.25 litres of veggie stock(I use Massel stock cubes)375 gram packet of Puy lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained, 1/3 cup of port or red wine, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, a small handful of parsley, 200 grams of mushrooms, sliced, celery, diced (I used up the heart of a celery-use what equates to about 4 sticks of celery) 2 onions, chopped, 4 carrots, diced plus 2 kg's of potato's and 1/3 cup of grated cheese (Not pictured)
Sauté the veggies on medium heat, in about 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil
For about 15 minutes until nicely golden
Meanwhile slice the mushrooms and chop the parsley
Push the sautéed veggies to one side of the pan and add the mushrooms, sauté them until softened
Add the chopped parsley and mix all sautéed veggies together
Add the rinsed and drained lentils plus the veggie stock
Let cook for 40 to 50 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed and the lentils are soft. I cooked this on medium low heat with the lid of the pan, ajar
While the lentils are cooking, peel, boil and then mash the potatoes. Use one cup of milk and 50 grams of butter to make the potatoes lovely and creamy
Once the lentils are soft add the tomato paste and stir through, take pan off heat
Put the veggie and lentil mixture into a buttered casserole dish, pile the hot mashed potatoes on top and scuff the top of the mash with a fork. Sprinkle over 1/3 cup grated cheese
Bake at 190C for 30 minutes or until golden
Serve piping hot. I love a squirt or two of tomato and chilli sauce on mine, no class at all.
I love that it makes a mountain of a dish, plenty for dinner and plenty of leftovers for another meal or lunches during the week. Filling and delicious.