Hearty enough for veg-heads and carnivores alike, this recipe has all the ingredients your guests will love. Loads of mushrooms and nuts in the filling make it rich and satisfying. You'll never miss the meat, we swear.
French Lentil Shepherd's Pie
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked for 4-6 hours minimum or overnight
1 cup dry Flourist French lentils
4 cups water for cooking lentils
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large onion, chopped finely
10 large white button mushrooms, chopped finely (about 5 cups total)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups green kale, washed & chopped finely
2 medium-large carrots, peeled & diced
4 large yellow fleshed medium potatoes, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews*
1/2 cup cold water
*Substitute heavy cream for cashew cream, about 1/2-3/4 cup in total
2-3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste optional
olive oil for the top while cooking
chopped fresh parsley or chives to garnish
Start by soaking the walnuts in advance in enough water to cover (you can do this either the night before or the morning of). To make the pie, drain, rinse & chop the walnuts with a sharp knife to a coarse chop and set aside in a bowl. Next, combine the lentils and 4 cups of cold water for cooking in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft. Most of the water should get used up in the cooking but feel free to drain if needed once the lentils are soft, and also if the water is gone before the cooking is finished feel free to add as required. Set the cooked lentils in a bowl and mix with 1 tsp salt. Mash the lentils a little with your hands or a spoon and set aside to cool. Add the chopped walnuts to the lentils.
Prepare the vegetables for cooking and when ready, heat a large sauté pan with olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook a further 10 -12 minutes, until all of the water is completely evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to turn a rich brown. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes until everything is mixed together. Remove this mixture from the pan and add to the lentil / walnut mixture. Using the same pan, add another bit of oil and re-heat on medium. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to coat well and cook evenly. Add the chopped kale and cook for 2-3 minutes further, until the kale is bright green and just softening. Remove from heat and add to the lentil / walnut / vegetable mixture. Stir in Dijon mustard, dry mustard, and a final tsp of salt (or season to taste). Mix all well until incorporated.
Next, combine the peeled & chopped potatoes in a small pot with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil with the lid on, and once boiling, turn the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes with the lid on, until the potatoes are soft. While the potatoes cook, combine the cashews & water in a blender and blend until smooth – you should have a creamy sauce with no lumps. Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them lightly with a fork, add the butter, cashew cream, and salt and mix all well until you have light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Season to taste and set aside.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard glass pie plate or a large cast iron fry-pan and spread the entire filling mixture on the bottom. Spread to make it even and condensed. Next, spread the mashed potatoes over top of the filling and top with a generous swirl or two of olive oil. Bake the pie uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes, until a nice golden crispy crust forms on the potatoes. Remove from the oven and serve hot, with or without chopped fresh parsley or chives and paprika as a garnish.
To serve a large crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled.