Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie (Gardener's Pie)
Shepherd's pie and cottage pie are hugely popular comfort foods but neither is particularly vegetarian friendly. Made principally with lamb and beef respectively, they are in their conventional forms out of bounds for even the most flexible of vegetarians. When I decided that another vegetarian dinner option was definitely due on this blog, I determined to use some commonly available garden vegetables to make a version of shepherd's or cottage pie. I wondered what to call this pie and quickly thought gardener's pie would be a great idea! Unfortunately, when I performed a Google search, I found that others have long since had precisely the same idea. All I can state with certainty therefore is that this is my own version of a genuine gardener's pie, with all the ingredients commonly grown in millions of vegetable gardens around the world.
If you are unfamiliar with the principal ingredients of shepherd's pie, it is normally minced or ground lamb, cooked with a small quantity of chopped root vegetables and topped with mashed potato. Shepherd's pie or cottage pie is hugely popular pub grub here in the UK and if you think gardener's pie would prove a successful vegetarian option down at your local, why not suggest it to your landlord?
Ingredients per Pie
2 medium sized baking potatoes
1/4 small swede turnip/rutabaga
1/2 medium parsnip
1 medium or 2 small carrots
1/2 medium white onion
1 pint fresh vegetable stock
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chopped chives
Sea salt, black pepper and white pepper
2 or 3 tbsp frozen garden peas
The potatoes should be started first. Peel them and chop to around one inch chunks. Add to a pot of cold salted water and put on to a high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty-five minutes until soft.
Peel the swede turnip, parsnip and carrot(s). Dice to about half an inch. Finely slice the peeled onion half. Add the vegetable oil to a pot and gently heat before introducing the onion only. Sautee the onion for a couple of minutes until transluscent and add the remaining vegetables. Season with salt and black pepper and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a moderate simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes until the veg is softened.
Immediately before you drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot, add the frozen peas to boiling water. They will take about three minutes. Add the butter to the potatoes, a little white pepper, and mash them well with a hand masher. Use a spoon to stir in three-quarters of the chopped chives.
Take a slotted spoon and add the vegetables to a 5" ceramic bowl. Pour in a little of the stock but not too much or your mash will quickly become soggy.
Don't make the mistake of simply tipping the mash on top of the vegetables. Instead, use a dessert spoon to carefully add it in small lumps before spreading out with a fork as a gardener would rake his soil.
Sit your gardener's pie in the centre of a serving plate. Drain the peas and arrange them around the pie as shown. Scatter the remaining chives over your pie and serve.