Thursday, March 18, 2010

Veg Shep Pie (or Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie)

This stuff is good. I mean it. I made it for the first time a couple months ago. It wasn’t the first time I’d made shepherd’s pie, but it was the first time I’d made it like this. I found two recipes that looked good. Each had different ideas that appealed to me, and I thought I’d put the parts I liked together and see how it all turned out. And wow, it was fantastic!

That first time I made it, I really just improvised, consulting the recipes, but also making it up as I went along. It turned out so good that I sat down with pen and paper and tried to remember everything I’d thrown in and approximately how much. Then when I made it again, just recently, I kept notes as I cooked. I tasted and added a little more of this or that, scribbled things out, and fixed the final quantities.

Amazingly, it turned out great again! I have a feeling, however, this will be an ever-evolving recipe. I already have ideas for next time like adding garlic and/or some fresh thyme or oregano. Also, the first time I made it, I used soy crumbles and the second time, I used seitan strips. Both Dave, and I preferred the crumbles initially, though the flavor of the seitan really improved by the time we got to the leftovers a couple days later.

The secrets, I think, that make this so good are the mushrooms, the pearl onions, the red wine, and the extra gravy. I like to pour the gravy over the mashed potatoes and stew on my plate. It really makes a big difference for me. Dave, however, passes on the gravy and tops his with ketchup – whatever!

Another cool tip is to make the stew part in a deep oven-proof sauté pan. Then top with the mashed potatoes and bake the whole thing right in the pan. It saves a step and it’s one less thing to wash.

I have a couple weird (possibly lame) short-cuts, which are the additions of canned mushroom gravy and ketchup. The canned gravy makes the stew and the extra gravy come together nicely for me, though I doctor it up plenty. And ketchup – well, I don’t know. I just tasted it and it needed ketchup. Again, all I can say is – whatever!

So anyway, here’s my recipe, though you’re on your own for the mashed potatoes. Just make your favorite mashed potatoes for the topping – potatoes, butter, milk, salt, pepper, and your favorite add-in’s (chives, garlic, cheese, horseradish, or whatever you like). And remember to taste the stew as you cook it. Add whatever you think it needs, leave out anything you know you won’t like, but please – just for me – try a meatless option for this recipe at least one time. I think you will enjoy!

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie  PRINTABLE RECIPE

1 Tbsp olive oil 3 carrots – chopped
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 cup roughly chopped crimini mushrooms
1 sprig rosemary – remove leaves (needles) and chop (discard stem)
1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
¾ cup vegetable broth
½ can vegetarian mushroom gravy
3 Tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup ketchup
1 cup frozen peas
¾ Lb. veggie (soy) crumbles or meatless (seitan) strips
1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper – to taste

MASHED POTATOES – your favorite recipe (start with about 2 Lbs. of potatoes)

¼ cup chopped crimini mushrooms
¼ cup red wine
½ can vegetarian mushroom gravy
½ cup vegetable broth
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper – to taste

1. Get your potatoes going and preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Heat oil over medium. Add carrots and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 cup mushrooms, rosemary, 1 Tbsp parsley, and ¼ cup red wine. Saute for about 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Stir in ¾ cup broth, ½ can gravy, tomato paste, ketchup, peas, and the soy crumbles or seitan strips. Heat through.

5. Meanwhile, get your poatatoes mashed and ready.

6. Add another 1 Tbsp parsley to the stew and salt & pepper to taste. Stir together. Top with the mashed potatoes.

7. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes.

8. In a small sauce pan over medium, stir together ¼ cup mushrooms and ¼ cup red wine. Stir occasionally until the wine is almost completely reduced.

9. Add ½ can gray, ½ cup broth, and salt & pepper to taste. Heat through, stirring often. Keep warm until ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try this. Maybe, tonight! Sounds like the lady of the house would really like it.