For me shepherd’s pie is comfort food, a big hearty dollop on a plate that tastes so good it’s the only thing on the plate that you’re really interested in.
I’ve tried a good few recipes for shepherd’s pies and like this one the most. It took a few tweaks though. It’s got all my favourite savoury flavours in it – yeast extract, soya sauce, liquid smoke and wine. And see what you think of the mix of green lentils and tvp, for me, the combination gives an ideal texture.
I finish it off with mustard mash, and it’s always tempting to have a few mouthfuls before it goes in the oven. But I wait, because once it goes crispy in the oven it’s perfect.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz (225g/1 large) red onion, finely chopped
1 courgette (7 oz/200g), finely chopped
10 oz (280g) mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 oz (175g) ready to use frozen soya mince (see Notes)
1 x 400g tin cooked green lentils – (3oz/85g dry – see Notes)
1 oz (30g/2 tbsp) tomato purée
9 floz (250 ml) vegetable stock OR 4½ floz (125 ml) each veg stock and vegan red wine
7 oz (200g) tinned tomatoes
4½ oz (130g) frozen peas
1 tsp mixed herbs
10g yeast extract
2 tsp soya sauce
splash liquid smoke – optional (see Notes)
10g cornflour mixed in a little cold water
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and fry over a low-medium heat, until they start to go translucent (see-through). Stir every minute or so.
2. Add courgette and mushrooms, and fry for five minutes over a low-medium heat, until they start to soften. Stir every minute or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring.
3. Stir in soya mince, green lentils, tomato purée, vegetable stock, wine – if using, tinned tomatoes, peas, mixed herbs, yeast extract, soya sauce and liquid smoke. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste and if necessary season with salt and pepper.
6. Add cornflour mixture and stir until the mixture thickens slightly. Spread out evenly in a casserole dish.
2 lb (900g) potatoes, large pieces
1¼ tbsp mild yellow mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Drain and mash with remaining ingredients until smooth. Spread out on top of the base and ruffle with a fork.
Bake for one hour at 200°C/Gas 6, until crispy and golden on top. Serves 5.
- Instead of frozen soya mince, you could use dried, it works just as well. For this recipe wash 2½ oz/70g through a sieve to hydrate it and then go ahead with the recipe.
- If using dried green lentils, wash in a sieve. Cook until soft in plenty of boiling water over a low heat.
- Not all wine is vegan. Co-op, Sainsbury’s and M&S label their vegan wine in the UK.
- Liquid smoke is not widely available in the UK. You can order it online from Amazon and other retailers.