However, I have cooked a huge number of vegetarian shepherd's pies (gonna drop the word vegetarian from now on - you know I mean 'shepherd's pie with no meat in it, right?')... and I have made them with all kinds of veggie mince (Quorn, Realeat, TSP and supermarket own brands...) and meat substitutes, I have also made them with just vegetables in, I have made them with a lentil base, I have made them spicy, or just mildly seasoned. You get the idea.
Last week though, I perfected my shepherd's pie recipe... I can honestly say it is the very tastiest shepherd's pie I have ever eaten, including those that were meat based in my pre-veggie years. Including homemade ones made by others and including those made in restaurants.....
Best of all, the whole family like it, so it's a winner. Going down as recipe that I created....
Jo's Shepherd's Pie, suitable for vegetarians and meat eaters alike (though not vegan's as it does include Quorn...)
All ingredient amounts are approximate..
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 300g packet of Quorn mince
- teaspoon of Marigold vegetable stock powder (or tsp of Marmite works well)
- 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- a big splash of red wine
- handful of torn basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mashed potato (I used whatever old potato is available, and mash it with butter, big handful of grated cheddar and a bit splash of milk, beaten together too make 'cheesy mash'!)
- Cook the carrots and then either mash them or use a hand blender to make them smooth. Put to one side.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes and Quorn. Add about 200mls of water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine, stock and carrot puree. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and add the basil.
- Pour into a dish (saving any extra - could be used as a bolognaise sauce.. or base of chilli - dependent of what you later add to it....) and top with mashed potato. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Longer if either the sauce or potato was cold.
The secret I believe is the pureed carrots and the wine. The carrots seem to make it a lovely consistency (yeah I tried it with chopped carrots, it's NOT the same!) and the wine gives it a fuller flavour.