We all like shepherd’s pie, but i think we’re eating to much Quorn, so looked for a lentil version…
for the sauce
2 onions , chopped
4 carrots , diced
1 head of celery , chopped
4 garlic cloves , finely chopped
200g pack chestnut mushrooms , sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried thyme
500g pack dried green lentils (we used Merchant Gourmet Puy lentils)
100ml red wine (optional)
1.7l vegetable stock
3 tbsp tomato purée
for the topping
2kg floury potatoes , such as King Edwards
50g cheddar , grated
To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 15 mins until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the herbs, then add the lentils. Pour over the wine and stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage. Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are very soft. Now season to taste, take off heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
While the lentils are cooking, tip the potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 mins until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk, then season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the pies, divide the lentil mixture between all the dishes that you are using, then top with mash.
Scatter over the cheese and freeze for up to two months (see tips, below) or if eating that day, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 30 mins until the topping is golden.
For best results, defrost the prepared pies thoroughly before cooking as stated.
The pies can also be cooked from frozen if short of time – first heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3, then cover the pie with foil and bake for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins (30 mins for individual pies) until completely soft when prodded with a knife. Increase the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, uncover, then continue to cook for 20 mins until golden on top and piping hot.
You could also use three cans of rinsed and drained green lentils for this – simply make the stock, then simmer them for just 10 minutes.
This was really really good!
This really is really really nice, but I think I need to add some veg into the mix, it’s just too much lentil for a toddler to eat!