Oh baby! This vegan version of Shepherd's Pie rocks! I'm a big fan of traditional Shepherd's Pie, so I've been wanting to "vegetablize" it. I turned once again to my trusty lentils, and they were up to the challenge! Seriously, I'm having a bit of a love affair with lentils these days. I never cooked with them until a few weeks ago, and now I can't stop! There are just so many great things you can cook with them, and I can't get over how inexpensive they are! One little bag of lentils is enough for 2 or 3 meals, easy, and then of course there are the health benefits. So yeah, I'm smitten. Or to use the words of Charlie McKenzie in So I Married an Axe Murderer, I'm in deep smit. ; )
This was one of those "wing it" meals, made without a recipe. I pretty much just went along the lines of my regular Shepherd's Pie recipe, but I used cooked and drained lentils instead of ground beef, and vegetable stock instead of beef broth. I also threw in the leftover gravy from last night's dinner, which was nice because it had mushrooms in it. Next time I make this, I'm definitely going to add a bunch of mushrooms. I also sprinkled a little soy cheese on top, but it would be just as good without it.
Yesterday I made a monster batch of mashed potatoes, with the intention of using them in this recipe today. Normally I hate that kind of make-ahead cooking, but it made sense this time. I had a bit of a problem putting the potatoes on top of the filling. This filling didn't have the structural integrity of ground beef, plus I made more gravy than I usually do (who doesn't love gravy?), so the filling was a lot softer than normal. When I tried to spoon the potatoes on top, they sunk into the filling and displaced it towards the center, in a kind of lava cone effect. That made it pretty much impossible to make a complete seal with the potatoes, so a lot of the gravy bubbled up while it cooked, but oh well...it still tasted great. And Brad cracked me up, shouting "VOLCANO!" like the waiters at the Rainforest Cafe. hee hee hee
I should probably let you know that the filling looks pretty nasty, but that's ok, because it's covered up with potatoes fairly quickly. We jokingly referred to it as gruel because that's what it looked like, but dang, it was some tasty gruel!
Hello Kitty says "lentils kick ass!"