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!
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Read more: What to Eat and Drink on St. Patrick's Day
- 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.