Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Goats’ Cheese Mash

This weekend I was looking for recipes to make and store in my freezer. As the nights are becoming darker, I find that after a hard day at work it can be tempting  not to make too much effort in the kitchen, which invariably leads to takeaways and similar dinners Mon – Fri.
The other week I made the Vegetarian chilli, so if I can add a few more different dishes into the freezer, this will be good for the waistline and the wallet.

I’ve had Delia’s Vegetarian Collection book for a number of years and despite there being over 250 recipes to go through I’m not sure I’ve made the most of them all yet.

This recipe is from ‘Delia’s Vegetarian Collection’. Chapter Seven Food For Friends, Page 155

110 g dried black-eyed beans, pre-soaked and drained (alternatively buy the carton, so no need to pre soak)
75 g green split peas (no need to soak), rinsed
75 g green lentils (no need to soak), rinsed
50 g peeled carrots
50 g peeled swede
50 g peeled celeriac (otherwise refered to by my other half as the Ood, see photo!)
1 large onion, peeled
1 small green pepper, deseeded
50 g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
225 g tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley
¼ level teaspoon ground mace
¼ level teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Topping – (To be added later if you are freezing like me!)
4 oz (110 g) soft goats’ cheese
1 lb 8 oz (700 g) potatoes, peeled
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 oz (25 g) Pecorino cheese, grated
salt and freshly milled black pepper

First sort your lentils, beans and peas…
If you need to soak the black-eyed beans. Wash them under cold, running water and discard any broken ones. Soak them overnight in 2 pints (1.2 litres) cold water.If you have black-eyed beans in a carton there is no need to pre soak.

Put the drained beans into a saucepan with the split peas and lentils, add 1¼ pints boiling water and some salt, cover and simmer gently for 50-60 minutes, don’t let the pulses go dry. Then remove them from the heat and mash them just a little with a large fork.

If you are making this meal for now, start steaming your potatoes: Now pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and put the potatoes on to steam.  (If not leave this until you are ready to eat it, so as not to freeze mashed potato)

 ‘The Ood!’

Roughly chop all the vegetables, or pour the veg into a food processor and whizz until chopped small. Next, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the vegetables and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring now and then until they’re softened and golden at the edges.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. Place them in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water on to them.
After exactly a minute remove them, I poured out the hot water first, alternatively use a slotted spoon.
I normally find skinning a tomato impossible/messy or both, this time I took the point of a knife and pierced the top where the stem comes out, the skin peeled away easily!

After that, add the vegetables to the pulses mixture, along with the herbs, spices and salt and freshly milled black
pepper to taste. Then spoon the mixture into the baking dish and arrange the tomatoes in overlapping
slices on the top. I put my mixture into two dishes, so that they each serve two people.
At this point I covered my dish, allowed it to cool and have put it in the freezer for later this week.

If you freeze the ‘base’  follow the next step when you are ready:

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and put the potatoes on to steam. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, place them in a bowl, add the butter, milk and goats’ cheese, whisk to a smooth purée, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper and spread the potato over the rest of the ingredients in the dish.

Finally, sprinkle over the Pecorino and bake the pie on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes,
or until the top is lightly browned. If you want to prepare this in advance, it will need about 40 minutes in the oven.


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