I am completely Vegetarian; and no, I’m not going to give a speech about PETA or show a video how bacon is made. I’m a practical and non-judgemental vegetarian; you enjoy your steak and I’m going to be over here devouring my honey glazed carrots and love every bite. But, there are times I miss comfort foods which typically include meat, I recently found my new favourite comfort food made completely meatless. Shepard’s Pie.
Who doesn’t love a good Shepard’s pie really? Soft and chewy, covered in hot mashed potatoes and just full of grace enough for the flavour to explode in your mouth. Absolutely delicious. Below, I will list my personal recipe and steps to make my comfort food that I can curl on with a plate of on my couch, in my sweatpants and watch a good rom-com.
For the Potatoes
• 5-6 white potatoes peeled
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/4 cup butter (I typically add a couple tablespoons extra, naughty, I know!)
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
For the Filling
• 1 package sliced mushrooms
• 2 cups cooked black lentils
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 3 carrots, chopped small
• 3/4 cup vegetable broth (Homemade is always best and can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container)
• 1/2 cup red wine (And pour yourself a glass; cooking is hard work)
• 3 tbsp flour
• 1/4 cup corn (I use canned corn but fresh or frozen works as well)
• 2-3 cloves minced garlic
• 3 tsp tomato paste
• 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• 1 tsp sea salt
1 Dice the potatoes into 1/2 pieces. Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, lower heat to a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, between 10 -15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the milk, butter, salt and pepper. Keep mashing and stirring until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2 Make the filling while potatoes are cooking. Heat a pan on medium high, add the oil. Add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the mushrooms, lentils, salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms lose their moisture, approximately 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour and toss to coat. Add the tomato paste, broth, wine, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
3 Stir in the corn, then transfer the filling to an 11 by 7 inch baking dish. Use a spatula to spread evenly. Top with mashed potatoes, being sure to create a seal around the edges to prevent the filling from bubbling through. Place the dish on a baking sheet on the centre rack of the oven. Bake until the potatoes begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 before serving; I can never wait and end up burning my tongue.
I love food; whether it be cooking a classic for myself, something I found in a recipe book and am trying for the first time; but, sometimes I’m lazy, and would rather meet with a friend out somewhere high end where ‘tartar’ is definitely on the menu, or a dive bar where I can get a can of my favourite cider for $5 and our whole meal is under $20. I can do it all, that’s how far my love of food spreads.
I decided to start a little ‘blog’ if you will, to show off a bit more of my personality and to get a little deeper into my cooking skills and tastes. There is a warning with this blog, you will get hungry and possibly aroused by the way I speak about my personal favourite treats for my tongue. Go grab a snack, I’ll wait until you get back….ready? Great, let’s start into Chef Marilyn’s kitchen, I’ll spill some of my secret recipes for you and give you insight on where to find me munching down out on the town.