This is a fantastic vegetarian shepherd's pie recipe, which makes good use of green lentils. While the original recipe works well I couldn't help but add gravy to intensify and thicken the stock. I also cut the carrots smaller than specified - the recommended size of a sugar cube was too big for my liking. I found 1cm² to be just right, without compromising on texture.
The user comments advise reducing the amount of wine but I was reluctant to use any less as the wine really adds to the overall flavour. Instead I added some mushrooms to absorb the excess stock, which resulted in a larger amount of filling, allowing me to make two pies.
I used a mixture of potatoes and sweet potatoes for the topping as it feels more like the traditional shepherd's pies I've eaten previously. You can, of course, solely use sweet potatoes or regular potatoes but I think that a 50/50 split makes the topping more interesting.
- Peel and chop the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Boil for around 15 minutes until soft then add the butter, creme fraiche, salt, pepper and spring onions (if using). Mash well and put to one side.
- Pour the olive oil into a pan and add the chopped onion. Fry on a low heat for around 8-10 minutes until the onion starts to colour.
- Add the carrots and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute to evaporate the alcohol then add the mushrooms, gravy, thyme, seasoning, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and stock cube. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Tip in the can of lentils with the juice that they came in and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the filling doesn't feel like it's thick enough add a few more gravy granules until you achieve a better consistency.
- Divide the filling between two 28cm pie dishes then top evenly with the mashed potato.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over the pies and bake for around 20 minutes until the topping has turned golden brown. I've found that the pie filling tends to bubble up through the mashed potato no matter how carefully I've spread it but it makes no difference to the taste.