You can prepare the filling and mash for this vegan shepherd’s pie recipe the day before and keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
2 medium red onions
1 celery stick
3 garlic cloves
4 sun-dried tomatoes, plus 2 tbsp oil from the jar
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large carrot
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp yeast extract (eg, Marmite)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250ml red wine
100ml vegetable stock
400g precooked puy lentils
salt and black pepper
FOR THE TOPPING
1.2kg maris piper or other floury potatoes
40g dairy-free butter
150ml unsweetened plant-based milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. First make a start on the potato topping. Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks. Put in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add a generous pinch of salt. Put over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes. Drain using a colander and leave to dry. Tip back into the pan.
2. Peel and finely dice the red onions and celery. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme by running your thumb and forefinger from the top to the base of the stems (the leaves should easily come away), then finely chop. Peel and finely chop the carrot. Put the mushrooms in a food processor and blitz to mince.
3. Put another large saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in the sun-dried tomato oil. Add the onions and a small pinch of salt. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring. Adding the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and thyme, cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and stir for 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat slightly and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms start to sweat. Reduce the heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir the tomato puree into the pan. Add the yeast extract and balsamic vinegar and stir for 1 minute. Add the red wine, stock and lentils, turn up the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste, season and take off the heat.
5. Mash the potatoes. Add the dairy-free butter, milk and mustard to the potatoes and mash until really smooth. Taste and season.
6. Spread the filling over the bottom of a 20cm x 30cm lasagne dish. Spoon over the potato and spread it out with the back of a spoon, then drag over a fork to make rows that will brown in the oven. Or spoon the potato into a piping bag fitted with a wide star nozzle and pipe tightly packed walnut-sized whips of potato all over.
7. Put the pie in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until starting to crisp and turn golden brown. Remove and serve with peas.
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