Shepards Pie

This has got to be my all time favourite vegan dish. I love it. I love it so much that I always make a massive batch, enough for dinner on that day and plenty left over for the freezer. The secret ingredient to the delicious gravy is Marmite! Now, marmite is not something that I would normally eat but it not only packs a flavour punch to this dish, it also adds colour too. I think that’s important with a dish like this.
I’ve topped my pie with a creamy mustard mash. You can leave out the mustard is you wish, but it’s important that the mash is really creamy so that it crisps up on the top, yum!

What you’ll need for the filling: (serves 8-10)

  • 500g of green lentils
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 200g of carrots, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1.2 ltr of vegetable stock
  • 400ml of boiling water
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of Marmite
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of tamari
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

What you’ll need for the topping:

  • 1.5 kg potatoes, washed and peeled (maris pipers work really well)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 cup of unsweetened vegan milk
  • 3 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method for the filling:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot and add the onion. Stir and cover and cook until the onions are translucent and soft but not brown.
  2. Add the garlic and herbs and continue to cook for another two minutes before adding the carrots. Cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Rinse the lentils under cold running water and add to the pan. Stir well to make sure they are all coated in the onion mix.
  4. Add one litre of vegetable stock and two tablespoons of Marmite.
  5. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer.
  6. Add one tablespoon of oil to a large pan and add the mushrooms. You can add the rest of the oil as needed and you may need to cook the mushrooms in batches if you don’t have a large enough pan. Add a little salt to release the umami flavours from the mushrooms.
  7. Check the lentil mix. At this stage the water should have been mostly absorbed. If needed add the rest of the stock and reduce heat to a minimum.
  8. When the mushrooms are cooked sprinkle over the flour, stirring constantly.
  9. Little by little, add 400ml of boiling water and stir well, making sure that the flour is not getting lumpy. When the last of the water has been added stir in the tamari and vinegar before adding to the lentils. Simmer until the lentils have cooked.

Method for the topping:

  1. Add the potatoes to a large pot of water with the garlic and bring to the boil. Adding the garlic at this point infuses the potatoes with it’s flavour. I always add garlic to boiled potatoes for extra flavour.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked. You should be able to put a knife through the spuds with ease.
  3. Once the potatoes are cooked strain any liquid that may be in the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest temperature. Using a masher proceed to mash the potatoes. The garlic should disappear into the mash at this point.
  4. Keeping the pot over a low heat ensures that any remaining moisture will evaporate. Once the potatoes are mashed to your liking add in the butter. Using a wooden spoon stir the mixture well making sure the butter is mixed in and the texture is creamy with no lumps.
  5. Gently stir in the milk until the mash is nice and creamy.
  6. Now add in the Dijon mustard, add it in spoon by spoon, stir and taste each time.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.

Preparing the dish for the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°
  2. Half fill a large oven proof dish with the lentil mix, allow to cool a little before topping with some of the mash. Allowing the mix to cool a little helps prevent the mash from sinking.
  3. The ratio of filling to mash should be 2:1 so that the dish is not too heavy.

Share and enjoy!