Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

This tasty pie is a complete meal, and freezes well. --adapted from Bill Granger

2 tbsp – olive oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves – chopped
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tsp – dried basil (and/or other herbs/spices of your choosing)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1  14-15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1  14-15 oz can of chickpeas – drained & rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked beans, drained)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp sugar
5 oz baby spinach leaves
2 lbs potatoes – peeled and cut into pieces
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons milk, half-and-half or cream

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil & add your potatoes. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until they are tender.
In a large pan, heat your oil over a low heat & fry the onion for about 10 minutes until soft & beginning to caramelize. Then add your garlic, red pepper and fry for 1 minute. Add basil, salt and pepper, tomatoes, chickpeas, stock and sugar. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, to reduce some of the liquid. Add the spinach leaves & combine until wilted. You’ll probably need to stir them in a few batches at a time.
Transfer the chickpea mixture to an over proof dish or baking pan & set aside.
When your potatoes are done, drain, and return to the saucepan. Add your butter and milk, and mash until fluffy. Season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper and then spoon on top of your chickpea filling. Bake right away and serve, or wrap up well for freezing (foil then ziplock is good protection from freezer burn).
When ready to bake, bake frozen (don’t defrost) in a pre-heated 400F oven for 45 min, or until heated through remove the foil for the last 10- 15 minutes of baking, to brown the top slightly (you can also set it under the broiler for a min, to brown the little peaks of mashed potato. Serve hot.

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