Now we all know that Shepards Pie makes us think of a cold wintery evening where we all sit around delicious, hot, casserole with a glass of something warm. This incredibly light version of our favorite winter meal can also be enjoyed in the thick of summer. It is a dish that is perfect for a family dinner and can also be packed away for a hearty filling lunch. So read on for this incredibly easy and tasty meal.
1 Onion and a few cloves of Garlic
1 1/2 cup Uncooked brown or green lentils
4 cups of Vegetable stock
2 tsp thyme
1 Bay leaves
2 cups of Mixed vegetables: Cauliflower, carrots, green beans, peas and corn (pick and choose the ones you like)
5 medium or 4 large Potatoes (you could also use a combination of normal and sweet potatoes)
1 cup Milk
Salt and Pepper
Cut the potatoes in half and place in a pot of boiling water over medium-high heat for about 20-30 minutes, till the potatoes are extremely soft
Once cooked, drain the water, let the potatoes cool and proceed to peel the skin off. Use a masher to mash the potato in a bowl and slowly start pouring in milk as you mix the potatoes. The aim is to achieve a creamy texture for the mash. If necessary, you could add melted butter, however, it works perfectly well without the addition of butter
Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover the bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 218 degrees C and lightly grease an oven-safe dish
In a large pot, add olive oil over medium heat. Saute the finely chopped onions and garlic until they lightly brown or caramelize
Add salt, pepper, thyme, lentils and let the flavors absorb into the lentils as your saute them for about 2 minutes.
Add the stock, bay leaf, and let the lentils cook for about 30-40 mins. As the lentils are nearly ready, add in all the veggies and let them all cook for another 15 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Pour the filling into the oven-safe baking dish.
Layout the mashed potato on top of the filling and smoothen with a spoon. Use a fork to bring in a little texture to the mashed potato top and decorate with chili powder and some fresh thyme
Drizzle some olive oil and basil on top of the mash to see it sizzle
Your dish goes into the oven at 190 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Cool it for another 10 and it is ready to be served.
Served with a side of greens, this dish creates a perfectly balanced meal combining your protein, carbohydrates, fats, and greens. The substitution of mince with lentils makes it perfect for the summertime when our tummies are craving something light.