Day 262: Red Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

I remember when I first told my friend Dianne that I was going to attempt this blog, her husband’s first reaction was, “Only one Shepherd’s Pie all year?!” (an understandable reaction). However, I knew this wasn’t a problem as we already eat a number of variations of this classic recipe, using both lentils and Quorn so I knew there’d be plenty of mileage in this wintery comfort food. 

As we are rapidly tumbling towards autumn and warming dishes, I’m again reincarnating a shepherd’s pie; this time with red lentils, rather than puy or green that I usually use, and I’m substituting the potatoes for cauliflower mash, so it’s even suitable for the clean-eating generation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 x leeks, finely sliced 
  • 1 x carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 x courgette, diced
  • 4 x tomatoes, diced
  • 1 x garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 x litre veg stock
  • 1 x bay leaf 
  • 1 x medium cauliflower 
  • 100g millet, rinsed

Fry the onion and leek in olive oil for a few minutes before adding the carrot, courgette and garlic. Stir for another minute or two then add the tomatoes, lentils, bay leaf and stock.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In the meantime, pour the millet into a pan of cold water along with the chopped cauliflower and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes, or until soft, drain and mash.

Pour the pie filling into an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed cauliflower. Bake at 200C for 20-30 minutes, until piping and the topping is starting to brown.

Serve with green veg.

Despite using familiar and acceptable ingredients that Mathilde has eaten in many other forms in the past, she took an instant dislike to this pie (as did Jude). The filling was a tad sloppy from using red lentils, which aren’t as robust as their green counterparts but a spoonful of arrowroot or cornflour would thicken it up (or I would use slightly less stock). Nevertheless, it tasted good and four out of six of us gave it the thumbs up. 

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