As a veg-head at a meat lover’s table, I often catch myself in between two carnivores, gazing longingly at their fluffy mashed potatoes and roast beef, cascading with dark brown gravy.
At holidays especially, we crave flavours rooted in past traditions. For me that’s rich and buttery Yorkshire pudding, juicy turkey carved with love by Oma, and and buttery mash.
This shepherds pie is my veggie-forward answer to the search for that luxurious feeling you get when you tuck into a Sunday meal.
I brought in a few power players here to get the job done; porcini mushrooms bring their earthy, almost beef-like umami flavour to the lentil filling. Tamari and wine build on that flavour, and after simmering, the lentils plump up into delicious, flavour-packed spheres.
I will note, this dish requires a bit more hands-on cooking than I usually prescribe on Earth & Oven. But being Christmas, and the season of long cozy evenings in, I promise it’s worth it.
Looking forward to making this for our family Christmas dinner coming up, simply because it plays very well with the other standard sides that usually show up; roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, carrots, beans, and salad.
Best news is, it can completely be prepared ahead of time and thrown in the oven before serving.
What do you plan on making for your veggie-centric main this holiday?
- 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, medium diced
- 2 tbsp butter or earth balance
- 1/4 cup milk, unsweetened almond or dairy
- sea salt
- 3/4 cup french or brown lentils
- 1 yellow onion, small diced
- 1/2 cup pearl onions, halved (optional, can omit)
- 3 cups mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake and cremini)
- 0.5 oz/ 3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 large carrot, small diced
- 1 scant tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (red works as well)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- In a medium bowl, add the porcini mushrooms and 1 cup of hot water. Set aside.
- In a large pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Season very generously with salt and bring to a boil on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 min, until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and add the butter and milk. Use a fork or potato masher to mash until creamy.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F.
- In another large pot, heat a large glug of oil, or heaping tbsp of butter over medium high heat. Add all of the onions and mushrooms. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are suffiently browned and glistening.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, remove the porcini mushrooms from the liquid and roughly chop. Set aside for a moment.
- To the pot with the mushrooms, add the tomato paste and garlic, and cook 1-2 min, stirring to toast.
- Add the wine and stir to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of pot.
- Add the porcini broth, vegetable broth, thyme, porcini mushrooms carrots and tamari. Season with salt and pepper
- Whisk in the cornstarch. Add lentils and bring to a boil on high. Place lid partially on. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 25-30 min, stirring off and on, until the liquid has thickened and lentils are tender with a little bite to them.
- Pour the lentil filling into the baking dish and spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top. Place the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet (to prevent spills) and bake for 25 min, until the tops of the potatoes are beautifully browned.
- Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
The mashed potatoes can definitely be made ahead. In fact, this whole recipe could be made ahead of time and baked in time for company.