Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s pie is the traditional “meat and potatoes” dish. Perfect for family meals and get togethers, this humble pie has a long history originating from the British Isles. The French version Hachis Parmentier and the Chilean Pastel de Papa are cozy cousins to Shepherd’s pie. And I’ve learned quite a lot about Shepherd’s pie lately. Basically the savory pie harkens back to England and Ireland as a sort of tossed together casserole of leftovers. Typically, Shepherd's pie is filled with lamb, and “cottage pie” filled with beef. Down to earth peasant food.
What makes this original comfort food so delicious is how the potato soaks up the veggies and meaty lentil mushroom layer. It seems quite simple, and that’s the beauty of it. This plant-based vegan recipe is just as satisfying as the real deal. You may add any other veggies in addition to the carrots and peas, such as zucchini, but please try to hold yourself back on making this too complicated or gourmet. Keep it simple! Make a lovely side salad to pair with it, and serve with a good glass of wine.
French lentils and earthy mushrooms replace the meat and sweet potatoes add depth in this classic casserole one dish meal.
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
1 pound (3-4) sweet potatoes
1 pound (4-5) small Yukon gold potatoes
2 large portobello mushrooms, chopped fine
1 carton cremini (or brown) mushrooms, chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy unsweetened milk)
4-6 tablespoons vegan butter (Miyoko’s Kitchen if you can find it)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 pound steamed French lentils
1 large red onion, minced
2 large carrots
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
4 tablespoons miso paste, thinned with water
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup fresh peas
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel all of the potatoes, then chop them into rough cubes and place into a large bowl.
Chop the portobello and brown cremini mushrooms into small bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes into water and boil for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
Mash potatoes, adding milk, butter, black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.
Mince the red onion. Peel and chop the carrots. Mince garlic.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and a small amount of onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add the carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for a few more minutes until slightly golden. Add peas and allow to cook for barely 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Set aside for assembly.
In another large saucepan, pour in a little olive oil and a small amount of onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add all of the mushrooms. As the mushrooms cook down, splash in a little red wine. Allow to cook until the mushrooms are reduced in their sauce. Add a pat of butter and a spoonful of the thinned out miso paste. Stir until the butter and miso blend with the mushrooms. Turn off heat.
Place the steamed French lentils into a large pot with the sautéed mushrooms. Mix together to incorporate the mushrooms with the lentils evenly. Since the lentils are pre-cooked, add broth, the remaining miso mixed with small amount of water, and a little soy sauce. Taste before adding any sea salt and black pepper, as the miso and soy sauce are already salty enough.
Place the lentil filling into the bottom of a 9 x 13” casserole pan. You can also make individual single serving pies in ramekins if you’d like.
Layer the carrots and peas on top of the lentil and mushroom base.
For the final top layer, add large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes over the carrots and peas in dollops. Spread the dollops into a smooth layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve warm.