Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I've always loved shepherd's pie, but I can't say it's been a big part of my vegan life.  I was excited to try out this recipe since we had success with soy crumbles before.  Plus, you can't go wrong with soy crumbles, sage, rosemary, and thyme, right? 

Parsley Soy Crumbles, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
So, is this Shepherd's Pie a vegan classic?  I say yes, but try it out for yourself! 

Recipe:
Shepherd's Pie

For the potatoes:
  • 3 potatoes, cubed 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 2 - 12 ounce packages Lightlife Smart Ground crumbles 
  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • about 14 ounces frozen peas
  • about 14 ounces frozen corn 
First, prepare the mashed potatoes.  Place the potatoes and garlic in a pot, add water until the potatoes are covered, and sprinkle with salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Drain the potatoes and garlic and mash with the soymilk, butter, salt, and pepper.

 Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to become tender.  Next, add the crumbles, flour, salt, and pepper and mix well.  Whisk together the vegetable broth and tomato paste and add to the pan along with the herbs, peas, and corn.  Stir well, cover, turn down the heat, and simmer until the sauce has thickened. 

To assemble to shepherd's pie, first pour the filling mixture into an 11x13 inch baking pan and spread evenly over the bottom.  Then, using a rubber spatula, dollop the potatoes over the top of the filling and spread evenly over the filling, all the way to the edges.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let the pie cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Yields 6-8 servings.

Comments:

Taste:     
Another successful recipe!  Rachel and I both really liked this dish.  The herbs and vegetables meld together to create a great savory flavor.  Of course, I'd love any dish that is reminiscent of Thanksgiving...
Accessibility:        
If you can't find the crumbles, you could just chop up vegan veggie burgers or use some other beef substitute.  I do think these crumbles are worth finding, though.  Also, if you're up to using fresh herbs, I'm sure that would make the dish even better.  Just use 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (chopped), 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped), and 1 large sage leaf (chopped). 
 Ease of Preparation:  

This recipe takes a while to make (probably about an hour and a half from start to finish).  Using the dried herbs sped up the cooking time.       
Non-vegan friendliness:   
Whenever you make something that replicates a non-vegan dish, you risk disappointing non-vegans.  I think this dish is a great alternative to shepherd's pie, but it's clearly not an exact replica.  Still, Rachel commented that both the texture and flavor are great.  She really enjoyed it and wasn't disappointed.       

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