Mashed Potato Crust Love
Why I've been craving mashed potatoes lately, I don't know. Spring has arrived here in the high desert. The days are longer and kinder. Apple trees are blooming. And all I can think about is a mound of soft creamy mashed potatoes. This means something.
Yeah. What it means is I am craving some serious comfort food in the form of a baked shepherd's pie- only my version is vegan and brimming with fresh vegetables. Forget the meat. And forget the lentils (so 1970's).
And fake meat- er, I mean, highly processed soy protein or vital wheat gluten?
I don't think so.
Seitan is evil.
That's why they call it seitan.
No, my shepherd's pie has to satisfy not only my potato comfort craving, but my hankering for vegetables, spice and flavor. You know what that means. I
live lived in New Mexico after all. It's gotta have some green chile in it. It's gotta have a little heat. Comfort food - for this gluten-free goddess, anyway- has got to have a little kick. Something to stir the taste buds awake after a long winter.
Bland is so, well, yesterday.
|I like my shepherd's pie spicy- but if you prefer it less so,|
leave out the chiles and red pepper flakes.
Karina's Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Recipe
Recipe posted April 2007.
Veggie lovers, if you like your vegetable pie less spicy, use regular diced tomatoes and leave out the red chile flakes. But if you want a killer combo of heat, tang and sweet, try my version. It's not your mother's shepherd's pie, Darling. Promise.
For the mashed potato crust:
3-4 large gold or white potatoes, peeled, cut up
Vegetable broth or your favorite non-dairy milk or cream, as needed
Vegan buttery spread or olive oil, to taste
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh chives, to taste
For the filling:
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mild curry spice
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (about half a smallish head), cut to bite size
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 zucchini squash, sliced and cut into quarter moons
1 yellow summer squash, sliced, cut into quarter moons
1 heaping cup shredded cabbage or slaw mix
1 14-oz. can Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles, with juice
2 tablespoons chopped roasted Hatch chiles or jalapenos
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons low sugar apricot jam, to taste- to balance the heat
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
Hot red pepper chile flakes, to taste (or use hot pepper sauce)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 14-oz. can butter beans, drained and set aside
Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted cold water; bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about twenty minutes.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and add the cumin or curry, and garlic. Stir one minute and add the fresh chopped vegetables. Stir and cook about five minutes or so.
Add the canned diced tomatoes with green chile, the chopped Hatch chiles or jalapenos, vegetable broth, vegan Worchestshire sauce or balsamic vinegar, apricot jam, sage, pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce begins to reduce. You want the vegetables to be tender-crisp, not too done, and the sauce to be thickened and not too thin [if, by chance, you need a little more liquid to cook the veggies, add a splash more broth or water]. When this has been achieved, taste test the sauce for seasoning adjustments; then remove from heat, and gently add in the butter beans. Set aside.
Mash the cooked potatoes with a little liquid and Smart Balance or olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add chives if you like. Taste test. Don't add too much liquid or over-mix the potatoes or they'll get gluey. Gluey spuds = not so good.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Assemble your pie:
Spoon the vegetables into a casserole dish. Top with mounds of mashed potato. I like to leave a few peaks (they get a bit golden). Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley. Bake in a moderate oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the pie is bubbling and heated through.
Serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a side dish.
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