Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie Two Ways (one vegan)
A cold rain is rolling through Connecticut, interrupting a whisper of mist with sudden bursts of stinging wet drops. The skies are wooly gray, gloomy and low. It's the kind of day that calls for comfort in the form of food. Something baked in a crock. Something piping hot and old fashioned. Something with mashed potatoes...
A savory pie, I said out loud, standing at the kitchen sink, listening to the staccato of rain drumming the skylights.
Don't tease me, said my husband, looking up from his latest screenplay.
I wouldn't joke about a thing like pie, I assured him.
Seriously. I'm thinking a shepherd's pie, I said. But not the usual shepherd's pie. No lamb. No beef. No onion. No peas.
Please, he said. No peas.
You know, that could get you into trouble, I told him. Your pea prejudice. The foodie police will be at our door before you know it. Demanding equal time for peas. And I'm already in enough trouble with their ilk.
Their ilk? he asked.
Yes, I said solemnly. My shepherd's pie is going to have tofu. And in some circles, that could get you killed.
Seriously, he echoed. And shook his head. He shifted in his seat.
I turned toward him.
No offense, but. Can I have a chicken pie? Nothing against bean curd, but.
I know, I assured him. I know tofu doesn't always float your boat.
I have a legume issue, he stated. Never been a fan.
I love you anyway, I said.
For better or for worse.
Legumes or no legumes.
Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie Recipe Two Ways
For the mashed potato topping:
3 cups peeled, diced gold potatoes
Plain soy, nut, or light coconut milk, as needed
For the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup zucchini, sliced into half-moons
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
1 cup cubed organic non-GMO firm sprouted tofu, or diced cooked chicken
2 teaspoons Italian style herbs (blend of oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, parsley)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
For the gravy:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 cup warm broth (light vegetable or chicken broth)
1 cup non-dairy milk, warmed
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 teaspoon mild GF curry powder
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
For the potato topping- boil the potatoes in a pot until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Mash with a potato masher; add a splash of non-dairy milk and season with sea salt, to taste. Stir till smooth and creamy, adding a little more 'milk' until the potatoes are fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease four single serving 10-oz ramekins with vegan buttery spread (such as Earth Balance). Set aside.
First, make the mashed potatoes. I used "Buttercream" gold potatoes- so full of flavor.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the garlic. Add the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli. Stir and cook lightly until fork tender, roughly ten minutes. If you prefer your veggies crisper, cook only until tender-crisp.
Add in the artichoke hearts, tofu or diced cooked chicken, and herbs, season with sea salt and ground pepper; set aside.
Make your gravy. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat; stir in the rice flour to make a paste. Stir and cook for half a minute. Slowly add in the warm broth, and non-dairy milk; keep stirring. Add the vegan butter, curry powder, and sea salt. When it begins to thicken remove from heat and taste test. It should taste mild and creamy. The herbs in the veggies will add rosemary-sage flavor.
Pour the gravy over the filling mixture and gently mix until the veggies are coated with gravy.
Spoon the filling into the ramekins. Top with a big spoonful of mashed potatoes.
Sprinkle with non-dairy/vegan shredded cheese, if you like.
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (to catch any bubbling-over drips) and bake in the center of a hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes. I tented my ramekins with foil for the first half of baking time to keep the mashed potatoes moist. Then I removed the foil and let the the topping brown a bit.
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
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We used plain organic soy milk (non-GMO) as our non-dairy milk of choice. We love its creamy richness. Though a neutral tasting coconut, or nut milk would also work. (And for those of you asking about using moo-derived milk, butter, and real cheese, sure. Dairy will work in this recipe.)
For those of you into the vegan nutritional yeast thang, you could season the gravy with a spoonful of nutritional yeast; add just enough to give the sauce some depth.
If you need a vegan pie without soy, use drained canned chick peas for the protein.