Oma’s Woodsman’s Pie (Shepherd’s Pie Improved)

Good morning everyone,

We’re making “Shepherd’s Pie” … no.  Wait.  Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is made from mutton or lamb (hence the title) so that will never do.  Since becoming a vegetarian, I’ve had to convert many of my previous favourites into vegetarian dishes, including my much loved Shepherd’s Pie.

I have tried to use commercial vegetarian ground “meat” but… no, it just isn’t the same thing at all.  I haven’t found any commercial ground that is as earthy, warm and savoury as traditional lamb or mutton.  So I went to work and came up with Oma’s Woodsman’s Pie.  Full of great vegetables, and a lovely, lovely mushroom base… so very good.

Oma’s Woodsman’s Pie

2 cups corn niblets
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 – 6 potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
3 large onions, chopped (divided)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 cups mushrooms, any type, cleaned and sliced finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils, drained well
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
1 sweet pepper, chopped finely
1 tablespoon, mustard (Dijon or ancien-style)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce, or to taste
1 can sweet peas, no sodium added, drained
1 teaspoon paprika, for garnishing
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste, for garnishing

In a medium pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and the corn.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a high simmer.  Allow corn to simmer for 20 – 25 minutes until very tender.  Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, add 3 cups water to a large pot and bring the potatoes, garlic and 1/2 the onion to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked and onions are translucent.  Drain and set aside.

Put the corn in a blender with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter.  Puree for 15 – 20 seconds until all of the corn is creamed.  Remove corn mixture and set aside.  Put the drained potato mixture in the blender and puree the potatoes.  Set these aside.

In the large pot, heat olive oil over high heat.  Add the cumin seed and stir for a few seconds until the cumin begins to pop.  Immediately add the remaining onions.  Reduce heat to medium-high and saute until the onions are almost translucent.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown and most of the moisture has evaporated.  Place these in the bottom of a casserole dish.

Preheat your oven to 250F.  While the oven is preheating, in the same pot used to cook the mushrooms, over medium-high heat, cook the celery for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the chopped sweet pepper and cook another 2 – 3 minutes until the celery and peppers are both tender.  Add the lentils, mustard, and pepper and heat through.  Add this mixture to the mushroom mixture and stir.  Season with soy sauce to your taste.

Smooth this layer in the casserole pan with the back of a spoon.  Layer the peas over this layer.  Layer on the corn mixture and smooth with the back of a spoon.  Layer on the potato puree and smooth this layer with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle with paprika and pepper, to taste.

Bake in the oven for 60 – 70 minutes.  You can brown the top of the dish under the broiler for a few minutes until golden brown.

That’s it!  Easy and so tasty.

Until next time,
Peace and love,
Himmat

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