These mini lentil shepherd's pies are what comfort food is all about! Simple, wholesome ingredients, and delicious flavours that will satisfy the hunger of the whole family!
How you've been? Now, I know it's a Valentine's Day, and today it is all about love and pretty pink food, and chocolates and flowers. But this lentil shepherd's pie was simply too good not too share with you and I couldn't wait any longer to do so!
Just at the beginning of the last week, we went for a nice walk in the countryside. Mainly, to justify the fact we've not left the house for a couple of days, and the need for some fresh air was killing us both. So off we went, enjoying the scenery soaked in sunshine, and then, I said it... The words 'aaahhh, spring is in the air' popped out of my mouth before I knew it! How little did I know...
Because the next day, temperatures dropped down massively, and what has been declared 'the coldest snap of winter' happened. There was even some snow, which, as we all know, is rather an event when it happens in the UK .
So the cravings for some really comforting food, the one that warms you up from the inside, rapidly came back. And when I think of comfort food, it always, in one way or another, involves potatoes. I wrote about my love for this humble vegetable many times, so I'm not going to bore you with that again. Let's just say that I like them A LOT, check out these posts, to see the proof:
And this lentil shepherd's pie is always first up in line, when I fancy something really easy, comforting, and delicious. I seriously can't figure it out, why I've never posted this recipe sooner, but better late than never! What I love the most about this lentil pie, beside from creamy mash potato on top, is the simplicity of the ingredients. Just some carrots, celery, onion, garlic and mushrooms. A handful of vegetables, lentils and some stock, is all that it takes!
Once you add vegetable stock and some red wine to the lentils mixture, and let it simmer, it will create this fantastic, thick, gravy-like sauce full of cosy flavours. Red wine is of course optional, and you can skip it from the recipe, or try replacing it with a tablespoon of Marmite (if you're a fan), for a deeper, richer flavour.
These lentil shepherd's pies are also suitable for freezing, so you can prepare them well ahead. Just remember to add some extra time for baking, if cooking from frozen. About 20 minutes on top of the recommended cooking time should do the trick!
Shepherd's pie, in my opinion, needs some peas or green beans to go with it, and that's how I always serve mine. However, you can swap it for the selection of your favourite vegetables, or even serve it on its own, it will still taste amazing!
I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and this shepherd's pie will quickly become your favourite comfort food too!
Until next time!
Mini Lentil Shepherd's Pies
- 2 tbsp vegan butter of choice or olive oil plus extra to grease the pie dishes
- 1 large red onion (chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (diced or chopped)
- 4 medium celery stalks (chopped)
- 4 small garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms (chopped)
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 250 g lentils
- 100 ml red wine (optional)
- 900 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
For the mashed potato topping:
- 850 g potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks, Maris Piper works well)
- 75 g vegan butter
- 100 ml milk of choice
- To make the filling, heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until soft, about 15 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for further 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme and lentils. Pour over vegetable stock and wine (if using). Simmer gently, uncovered for about 40 minutes until the lentils are soft. If the mixture is drying out, you can add a bit more water or stock.
- Place the potatoes in a large pan, pour over boiling water and boil for 15 minutes, until tender. Drain well, mash them with butter and milk, and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the lentils from the heat, add tomato puree, stir well. Add seasoning to your taste and a generous pinch of black pepper.
- Heat the oven to 180C. Butter your small pie dishes and spoon in the lentil mixture, then top with mash. You can also use a piping bag to do that. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. Serve with peas or beans on side. Enjoy!
- you can use one large dish instead of few small ones
- the quantity of pies will depend on the size of your dish
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine.