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Skillet Shepherd's Pie

This new version of Shepherd's Pie is a revelation when you are craving comfort food. It's simply the ultimate in one easy recipe! We've been perfecting this tasty meal for months, and love the heartiness of our humble Laird Lentils cooked in beer or wine and topped with creamy, mashed Russet Potatoes. It comes together fast, in under an hour from start to finish. 

Skillet Shepherd's Pie
2# or 900g Russet Potatoes, peeled 
1 tbsp butter 
1/3 cup yoghurt or sour cream 
250g Flourist Laird Lentils 
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped 
1/2 cup beer or wine (red or white are both great!)
1/3 cup ketchup 
1/4 cup tomato paste 
1 tsp bouillon paste 
1.5 tsp salt 
1 cup frozen peas 
1 cup grated white cheddar 

Start by weighing the Flourist Laird Lentils and adding them to a fine strainer. Give them a rinse under cold water and add them to a medium sized pot. Add 5 cups of cold water to the pot and bring the lentils to a boil over high heat, covered. Once the lentils are boiling, turn the heat down and simmer the lentils over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. 

While the lentils cook, prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and very coarsely chop the russet potatoes, and add them to a separate pot with a lid. Once the potatoes are all prepared, cover them with 1 inch of cold water. Bring the potatoes to a rolling boil with the lid on the pot. Once the potatoes are boiling, cook over medium-high heat (hot enough to maintain a gentle boil) for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are soft enough to break with a fork. It's important not to undercook the potatoes as they need to be well cooked to mash properly. 

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them of water and let sit to ensure all the water is gone. Transfer the cooked potatoes back to the pot and while they are still piping hot, add 1 tbsp butter, the yoghurt or sour cream and 1/2 tsp salt. Using a fork, mix the potatoes with the added ingredients while you also mash them. Continue until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Set aside. 

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. When the lentils are cooked, drain and set aside until ready to start the pie assembly. 

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the tomato paste, beer or wine, ketchup, bouillon paste, salt, and drained, cooked lentils. Stir well and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens. 

When ready, top the lentil mixture with the mashed potatoes, spreading the potatoes evenly over the lentils. Top with grated cheese and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper if desired. Bake the pie directly in the skillet, uncovered, at 450 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to show colour. During the final cooking stage, turn the oven onto broil and broil for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is browned to your preference. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 

This recipe serves 4-6 and re-heats well. 

A note about prepping ahead
If you want to make this ahead of time, prepare everything up to the point of adding the cheese to the pie. Cover the prepared pie with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and re-heat for 20 minutes with the foil on. Take the foil off, add the grated cheese and broil until melted and bubbly. 

Why scales? 
We are strong advocates for having a good kitchen scale in the house. They are handy for everything from recipes like this to more serious uses like baking. We recommend a scale for all sourdough recipes, but in general, a good scale will help cooks and bakers get better results through accuracy. You'll be surprised how many uses you'll find for one once you have one! We use this scale from Escali.

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