I've not made a shepherd's pie for quite a while as it is not a spring or summer dish; now autumn is upon us, it feels like the right sort of time for something warm, comforting and bathed in nostalgia. As it is now British Food Fortnight which celebrates the glory of good British food and runs from 21 September to 6 October this year, I give you my take on Granny's Shepherd's Pie. My magic ingredient is ... chocolate.
tin opener for the baked beans. What a joy to open the tin without a hitch. It was easy to use and to quote OXO has "an oversized knob" which does indeed turn with little effort. The handles have a particularly comfortable grip too. The large spoon was perfect for scooping out a whole portion intact and it dished up the pie beautifully. The stainless steel makes it particularly durable and again the handle is very comfortable. Both implements are sturdy and stylish and are welcome additions to my kitchen utensils.
Mrs Middleton's Oil. Our CCC organiser, Ellie Michell, has many strings to her bow and this cold pressed rapeseed oil, grown on the family farm in Bedfordshire, is one of them. It is nutty in flavour and has a beautiful golden colour. It's fabulous used as a salad dressing or as a simple dip for bread. I was certainly happy to use it in my shepherd's pie.
Helsett Farm on the north coast of Cornwall. The potatoes, garlic and courgettes were grown by my own fair hands, so you can't get much more local than that. I am thus submitting this to Shop Local over at Elizabeth's Kitchen.
Lavender and Lovage.
Eat Your Veg and Venesther of Bangers & Mash, this month's theme is week-end slowies.
Granny's Shepherds Pie
This is a vegetarian take on my grandmother's excellent shepherd's pie. I add whatever vegetables I have to hand. Dark chocolate is added for extra richness and colour.
- 8 oz Whole brown lentils
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 large Carrots - chopped
- 1 large stick Celery - chopped
- 3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
- 1 Onion - chopped
- 1 Courgette - chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 8 Chestnut mushrooms
- several sprigs Fresh thyme
- 2 tsp Shoyu (soy) sauce
- 1 tin Baked beans
- 20g Dark chocolate (I used 100%)
- 5 large Floury Potatoes - scrubbed and chunked
- 4 tbsp Milk
- 120g Cheddar Cheese
- to taste Salt & Pepper
1. Soak the lentils for a few hours in cold water or for 1 hour in hot water. This reduces the cooking time. Wash well and just cover with water. Add the bay leaves and bring to the boil.2. Add the carrots and celery and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.3. In a separate pan, fry the onions in the oil for a few minutes. Chop two of the garlic cloves and add to the pan. then add the courgette followed by the mushrooms. Fry for about 10 minutes.4. Add the fried vegetables to the lentils together with the thyme, beans and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.5. Simmer for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir well and pour into a large casserole dish or two smaller ones.6. Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water with the remaining clove of garlic for about 15 minutes or until soft.7. Drain the potatoes, add the milk and mash. Add 100g of cheese and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.8. Spread the mash over the lentils. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes when the lentils are bubbling and the mash has browned a little.
DetailsYield: 8 servings