I usually keep Wednesday evenings free from commitments and take a mid-week break. One of the best ways to recharge my batteries is to cook a nice dinner that I wouldn’t have time for on other days. This comforting shepherd’s pie is one of my favourite meals of all time. I make it almost every week and never get sick of it!
Sometimes I make it with beef but I find red meat quite heavy. Lentils are cheaper, healthier and you don’t need to worry about germs in your work area. Win win!
For the base, I used :
- 2 small red onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 tin of green lentils
- 4 heads of pak choi (I often use spinach or no greens at all, but tonight I had leftover pak choi)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- generous dash of Worcestershire sauce
- generous dash of dried thyme, oregano and basil
For the mashed potato topping, I used :
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- about 10 regular, small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
- a big slice of butter, approx 100g
- glug of milk
- pesto for flavour ( I usually don’t use this but again, I had some leftover and thought why not?!)
- grated cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top
- I preheated the oven to 180C
- I sauteed the onion and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, to soften.
- I put the potatoes on to boil in salted water.
- I added the carrot, celery, herbs, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
- I let this sautee and added some of the potato cooking water when I thought it needed liquid.
- Right at the end of cooking I added the pak choi and lentils – to keep the leaves bright green and prevent mushy lentils.
- I drained the potatoes and left them in the colander to dry- this is crucial for texture!
- While they were drying I put the butter and milk in the pan until the butter melted. I returned the dried potatoe and mixed with a hand blender. Then I swirled some pesto through the mashed potatoes.
- I put the lentil mixture in my baking dish, topped with the mash and sprinkled over grated cheese. I also made a baby pie to bring to work tomorrow.
- I baked for 30 minutes, and let cool for another 10.