Vegetarian Shepherds PieIf you are looking for a vegetarian-friendly meal, this Shepherds Pie is a meatless version of the classic comfort winter dish. It’s a beautifully balanced meal, and a great way to introduce a meat free option to the family.

Ingredients:

LENTIL SAUCE

  • 50g butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 1 head of celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g pack button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 500g pack dried green lentils
  • 100ml red wine (optional)
  • 1.7 litres vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 2kg floury potatoes, such as Desiree
  • 85g butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated

Method:

  • To make the sauce, heat 50g butter in a pan, then gently fry 2 chopped onions, 4 diced carrots, 1 chopped head of celery and 4 finely chopped garlic cloves for 15 mins until soft and golden.
  • Turn up the heat, add 200g sliced mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more.
  • Stir in 2 bay leaves and 1 tbsp dried thyme, then add 500g green lentils. Pour over 100ml red wine and 1.7l vegetable stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage.
  • Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are very soft.
  • Season to taste, take off heat, then stir in 3 tbsp tomato purée.
  • While the lentils are cooking, tip 2kg floury potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 mins until tender. Drain well, mash with 85g butter and 100ml milk, then season with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the pies, divide the lentil mixture between all the dishes that you are using, then top with mash.
  • Scatter over 50g grated cheddar (you can freeze for up to two months at this point) or if eating that day, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas, then bake for 30 mins until the topping is golden.

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