I was always confused about the difference between shepherd's pie and cottage pie: similar looking, potato-topped pies with some kind of meat underneath. Growing up as a vegetarian, the fact that one is lamb and one is beef was pretty irrelevant to me. Still, for some reason, I've always called my version "Shepherd's Pie."
One of my favourite things about the days drawing in is the excuse to make comfort food... and this is the ultimate comfort food for an autumn evening. It's allergy-friendly, too. Just leave off the cheese if you're feeding vegans.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
3 large mushrooms
2 tins lentils
1 tin tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
seasonings to taste (I use pepper & chilli)
3 large potatoes
100g cheddar cheese (or similar hard cheese)
- Finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot & courgette, and sautee in a little oil until the vegetables are soft.
- Meanwhile, dice the potatoes and steam or boil until soft.
- Roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the onion mixture. Add the lentils, tinned tomato, tomato puree, and seasonings, and simmer for half an hour over a low heat. (I used pre-cooked lentils this time; if you want to use dried lentils, add a little boiling water, and be prepared to cook the mixture for longer.)
- When most of the liquid has evaporated, tip the vegetable/lentil mixture into the bottom of a glass casserole dish.
- Mash the potatoes with the butter, and arrange on top of the vegetable/lentil mixture. Grate the cheese and sprinkle on top.
- Bake at 170°C for 30 minutes.