Well it's about time we do that St. Patrick's Day thing and get festive around here - don't you think? In brainstorming a few ideas, this is the one I kept coming back to because it's something I would totally make any time of year and love.
I mean really, what's not to like about about a rich layer of mushrooms and vegetables covered by parmesan mashed potatoes and broiled until crispy on top? This my be my new favorite comfort food.
Traditional Shepherd's Pie calls for lamb, and while I really like the flavor of lamb it can be pricey and a little bit more labor intensive than the route I took. When it came to finding a viable replacement, I went with mushrooms for the texture (and because I pretty much love them in everything). I came across a bagged frozen blend of white, shiitake and portobello which worked really well and added great flavor. You can use any type you like though.
The first thing you'll want to do is get the potatoes boiling because it takes a while. Russets work the best for mashed potatoes because of the high starch content, so just peel, chop and throw them in a large stock pot. Cover with water, season with a pinch or two of salt and turn the heat on high to bring the water to a boil. In the mean time you can get going with your vegetables (which is the best part, but then again I may be biased).
To jazz things up, I used tri-color carrots because they add the most beautiful pop of color. You'll also need the usual suspects: onion, celery and garlic.
Now making something sans meat or meat-based broth usually means you need to get a little creative to replace that rich flavor. I used a brown ale as a deglazing liquid and it worked really well. This can totally be swapped with your favorite darker beer, or if you don't drink or have any on hand, feel free to use broth instead.
Once all of your separate components are complete, assembly is super easy and it only cooks in the oven for five minutes. The result is delicious and silky and all those good things.
Veggies on the bottom, potatoes on the top.
I hope you get "lucky" with all of your cooking endeavors this week. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 4 servings | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins | Total time: 1 hour
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled & chopped
1/2 cup half & half
2 Tbsp butter (divided)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dark beer (or veggie broth)
10 oz mushroom blend, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup vegetable broth
to taste salt and pepper
1. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water and season with salt. Turn heat on high and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (finish mashed potatoes in step 3).
2. Heat olive oil in a large metal skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery, cook 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 5 more minutes until slightly browned. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of beer scraping the browned bits from the bottom with a metal spoon while stirring. Increase heat and bring to a low simmer.
3. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl (or stand-up mixer bowl). Add half & half, 1 Tbsp of the butter and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Mash or mix well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. In a small skillet, heat the other tablespoon of butter and add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until about half their original size (5-6 minutes) stirring frequently.
5. Add the mushrooms, peas and 1 cup of vegetable broth to the carrot mixture, increase heat and return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few more minutes until everything is well combined and flavors have developed to your liking.
6. Transfer the vegetable mixture to an an oven-safe casserole dish, then top with mashed potatoes and spread them out with a spatula until even. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on top, plus a bit more salt and pepper. Broil for 5 minutes or until browned.
recipe adapted from: The Food Network