In my house, we love veggies. Whether it is steamed, in a curry, stir fried or straight up in a salad, we love it all. We are trying to include more veggies in diet as much as we can, because it is healthier for you. And when you eat what’s in season, it tends to be a lot easier on the pocket too. I try to eat local produce as much as I can and always go for what’s in season.
When I came across a recipe for a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, I knew I had to try it. It calls for a bunch of veggies, which most of us usually have on hand, and lentils. We eat a lot of lentils, pulses, legumes, so I knew this would be an interesting way to switch things up. There are a few processes involved in the recipe, but they are all really simple and I loved that there were leftovers.
This Veggie Shepherd’s Pie is chock full of veggies and lentils and is the perfect meal for a cold, wet day. And my secret ingredient is a little Vegemite. This adds amazing depth of flavour and that umami quality that most recipes reach for. The veggies and lentils are full of flavor and are topped with mashed potatoes.And who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
1 cup cooked lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
Salt, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp vegemite
1 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
6-8 potatoes, depending on size (You need enough to make about 4 cups worth of mashed potatoes)
A small splash of milk, if needed
A knob of butter (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and garlic and saute till the onions have softened.
While the onions are cooking, dice the carrots and celery to ‘more or less’ resemble the size of the peas and lentils.
Once the onions have softened, add the diced carrots and celery to the pan and cook till the celery has started to soften.
Now add the sliced mushrooms, salt, thyme, mixed herbs, smoked paprika and pepper to the pan. Stir well to let the spices incorporate. Continue cooking till the mushrooms have fully softened.
Add the vegemite, tomato paste and the flour to the pot. Stir and continue to cook the veggies till they’re coated and the pasty mix starts to coat the bottom of the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth to the pan. Stir to dissolve the flour and tomato paste that has coated the bottom of the pan.
Bring the broth to a simmer. It will have started thickening. Add in the cooked lentils and peas and let them all heat through.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed, stir through and take the pot of the heat.
Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes to cut down on cooking time.
Boil them in salted water till tender. Drain and mash the potatoes with the milk and butter (if you are using) till no lumps are left. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Add the vegetables to a large casserole dish (I used my 9 inch ceramic pie dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. It is easier to handle the mashed potato when it is still warm. I used the back of a spoon to flatten the mashed potatoes. You can choose to use a fork or a spoon to create a decorative pattern if you’d like.
Bake for around 15 minutes till everything has heated through. If you want the mashed potatoes to brown some more, place it closer to the top heating element of your oven, or turn your broiler on (if your oven has that function) and bake for a few more minutes. Watch closely and when it has browned to your liking, take it out of the oven.
Sprinkle some more freshly cracked black pepper over the top and serve hot.
Enjoy your veggies!!!
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If you haven’t had potato chops before, you really should. These little beauties are served up in lots of Goan homes, not just in Goa, but around the world. They are a must at any party or family gathering, in my house at least. I have posted this recipe before, but that was years ago. The recipe is still the same one. I’ve just got some new pictures and I’ve made a little video to show you how I make these potato chops. They are pretty simple to make, but if you’re a visual learner like me, the video will help make the process simpler. So go on over and have a look. Let me know if you have any questions at all. The step by step recipe is just below.
1/2 a recipe of Beef Mince (Beef mince video recipe here – https://youtu.be/RhSfsw2EC1U ) (You can substitute mutton mince, if you don’t eat beef)
4-5 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Bread crumbs / Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Make half a portion of beef mince and keep aside. This should come down to room temperature before you proceed with this recipe.
Boil the potatoes only when you are ready to make the chops you need to work when the potatoes are still warm. Cold potatoes make handling difficult.
Peel and mash the potatoes well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add salt to taste, cumin powder, turmeric powder and coriander leaves and using your hands mix well to ensure all the spices and herbs are evenly distributed. Feel free to adjust the quantities of the spices and herbs used to suit your taste.
Take a portion of the mashed potato, the size of a tennis ball, roll into a ball and flatten to form a thick disc on the palm of your hand. Place a spoon of the mince in the center and bring the sides of the potato disc up and over the filling to cover it well. Make sure that no mince is sticking out. If you feel the need to add more potato to it, feel free to do so. The mashed potato merges well. Shape it to form a patty and keep aside. Continue till you’ve used up all the mashed potato.
Crack an egg in a shallow bowl, wide enough to fit the chops. Beat well to incorporate the white and the yolk.
Pour some bread crumbs onto a plate and keep it ready. I have a little assembly line going for this, starting with the chops at one end, followed by the bowl with the beaten egg, the bread crumbs and a plate lined with some absorbent kitchen paper at the other end.
Heat some oil in a pan.
Briefly dip a chop in the egg and turn over, making sure it coats the chop well.
Dredge it through the bread crumbs making sure the potato chop is well coated. This is what will give it a good crunch.
Carefully place in the pan with the heated oil and shallow fry till it takes on a nice golden brown color. Turn and let the other side fry as well till it gets golden brown.
Carefully take it off the pan and repeat till you’ve used up the rest of the potato mix.
NOTE: You don’t need to fry these one at a time, place as many as your pan can accommodate, making sure theres a little space between them to help you turn these over.
Here’s what it looks like on the inside –