I work in a restaurant, which means that most nights I'm not home for dinner. My workday starts around 4 p.m. and ends sometime after midnight. This schedule is not ideal for many reasons, but mainly for the fact that my fiancé has a 9-to-5 job. We don't have the opportunity to eat together more than a night or two a week, and he's usually left to fend for himself when dinnertime rolls around.
My fiancé is a fantastic cook and more than capable of feeding himself, but the caretaking part of me reverts to 1950s housewife mode and I try to make a big batch of something I know will sustain him for at least a few dinners—it makes me feel better. Sunday morning has become a time for making a big batch of chili, curry, or some sort of casserole or stew. So when I saw this recipe for Shepherd's Pie from Carol Gelles' 100 Best Vegetarian Recipes, I knew that it was going to be a winner.
It took a little more than an hour to prepare, preparation and baking time included, and emerged from the oven beautifully browned and bubbling. I left for work and checked back in around dinnertime—it was a success! Great for dinner around 8 and still good reheated at 1 a.m., when I got home and had my dinner!
Win '100 Best Vegetarian Recipes'
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 100 Best Vegetarian Recipes to give away this week.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- One 10-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 cups mashed potatoes (homemade or from potato flakes)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
In a 1 1/2-quart sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the flour until absorbed. Add the broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the lentils and mixed vegetables. Spoon into the pan.
Place the potatoes into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the potatoes around the edge of the pan, then fill in, leaving a hole in the middle to vent.
Bake 40 minutes or until the potatoes are browned on top.
Variation: Use any cooked vegetable you like, such as zucchini, mushrooms, or celery.