Not your traditional Shepherd’s Pie because it doesn’t contain lamb, but incredibly tasty and healthy with the substitution of red lentils, this Faux Shepherd’s Pie is a true comfort food. Like a Shepherd’s pie, it is filled with vegetables and topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
I tried once before to make a lentil based Shepherd’s Pie, but it was so awful that I ended up throwing it away. The problem was the use of commercial vegetable broth rather than chicken broth. This time, I used chicken broth and the mixture was great. The Master Taste Tester and I are trying to eat more vegetable based meals, but not at the expense of taste. Therefore, this is “almost”, but not quite vegetarian!
Ingredients for Faux Shepherd’s Pie:
I used the following ingredients: Chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, olive oil, onions, carrots, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, red lentils, Bisto, salt, pepper, frozen peas, and mashed potatoes.
Making the Faux Shepherd’s Pie:
I started by whisking together the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and tomato paste. I set the chicken broth mixture aside while I sautéed the onions and carrots in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. After about 5 minutes, I added the chicken broth mixture, stirred to combine everything, covered the pan, and simmered the onions and carrots for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, I added the red lentils that I had rinsed and drained. I brought the mixture to a boil, lowered the heat to medium low, covered the pan, and cooked it for 15 minutes, until the lentils were tender.
As a final step, I brought the lentil mixture to a boil, and added some additional chicken broth that I had whisked together with the Bisto. I stirred the mixture constantly until it was somewhat thickened. Then I added some salt and pepper, and finished the mixture off with the addition of the frozen peas. I tasted it to make sure that the seasonings were correct, and removed the pan from the heat to cool.
Making the Mashed Potatoes:
While the lentil mixture was cooling, I made the mashed potatoes by boiling peeled and sliced russet potatoes in salted water until the potatoes were fork tender. After draining the potatoes well, I returned them to the pan, added some butter, freshly ground black pepper, and milk. I beat the potatoes with my electric mixer until the potatoes were creamy, and all lumps were gone. The reason that I made sure that there were no lumps was that I wanted to pipe the potatoes onto the lentil mixture, and knew that lumps would likely clog the piping tip. I let the mashed potatoes cool before transferring some to a piping bag fitted with a 1M star tip.
Finishing the Faux Shepherd’s Pie:
Rather than make one big pan of the Faux Shepherd’s Pie, I divided the lentil mixture among three 6½ by 8-inch Pyrex pans. Each pan held around 16 ounces of the lentil mixure. The idea was to have one for dinner and freeze the others for later use.
With the lentil mixture divided among the pans, I piped largish rosettes of mashed potatoes on the top, making sure that I completely covered the lentils.
I ended up with three delicious dinners – one for tonight’s dinner, and the other two frozen for some later time!
For tonight’s dinner, I heated the Faux Shepherd’s Pie at 375° F for about 30 minutes, until it was hot, bubbly, and lightly browned on the top. I served it with steamed fresh cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Yum!
Faux Shepherd’s Pie
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth divided (See Tip 1)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup red lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1 large onion chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups diced carrots (about 3 large carrots)
- 1 Tablespoon Bisto
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- 3 pounds russet potatoes peeled and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
- 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine 2 cups chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and Dijon mustard; stir with whisk until well blended. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil or butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth mixture; cook over medium high heat until bubbly. Cover and continue cooking over medium low heat 25 minutes or until the onions and carrots are tender.
- Add lentils; stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium low heat 15 minutes until lentils are tender.
- Combine remaining ½ cup chicken broth with Bisto. Bring lentil mixture to a boil; add chicken broth mixture and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add salt, pepper, and frozen green peas; stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spoon into large casserole dish, or divide among smaller casserole dishes. Top lentil mixture with piped mashed potatoes. May be prepared in advance up to this point and refrigerated or frozen.
- Bake at 375º F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are lightly browned and mixture is bubbly. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
- For the Mashed Potatoes: Cook potatoes in salted water over medium heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Return to pan; add butter, pepper, and milk. Beat with electric mixer on high until smooth. Correct the seasonings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- To make this vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.