Let me get this out of the way right off the bat and say that the shepard who created the original shepard's pie would probably not be very approving of me adding curry powder and taking away meat from their pie….. but for the sake of recipe recognition (everyone know what shepard's pie is, right?!) I decided to go ahead and call this a shepard’s pie anyways. I hope the shepard will understand.
Before deciding on calling this casserole a shepard’s pie, I did a little googling to find out where this recipe originated, and as I expected is was a sort of peasant dish that was made from leftover meat and mashed potatoes. It actually has been around since the 1700s (wow) and nowadays there are many many varitations, so because of that I felt that there’s plenty of room for my sassy curry version ..... and many more.
This can be a kitchen sink kind of dish where you can use any and every vegetable that is in your fridge to make the filling. Or you can work the other way around and stroll around your farmer’s market deciding on what you want to throw into this dish. That’s what I did.
It was 50 degress and sunny the other day (totally not typical for NYC this time of year), which made it a prime (rare) winter market strolling day. Because it was so warm and lovely outside, I got thinking about not-so-far future spring days, when the market will be filled with lots of greens and super fun spring veggies ….....but when I arrived at the greenmarket, it was the same dead of winter, dwindling array of root veggies and minimal vendors to shop from. Vendors and veggies that I VERY much appreciate sticking around for us all winter, but it still makes me anxious for the warmer more bountiful days. Despite the small variety of mostly root vegetables, I am determined to use what I can find at the market to the fullest, and what better way than in a humble, but super flavorful casserole-type dish.
At the market, there was a farmer who had a gorgeous assortment of mushrooms, and I knew that those mushrooms would be the perfect substitute for meat in my shepard's pie. The mushroom and lentil combo is protein rich, power switch out for those dishes where you feel like skipping the ground beef. I also stumbled upon some turnips that I am always looking to add in here and there, and this was the perfect opportunity. Lastly, there are no shortage of sweet potatoes and carrots this time of year, so because I had a good amount of both hanging around, I decided to mash them together with a sprinkling of curry powder for a super flavorful crust to top off my market-celebrating shepard's pie.
**This post is sponsored by REVOL, who also provided this gorgeous dish to make my shepard's pie.
veggie shepard’s pie with a curried sweet potato crust
4-6 as an entree
2 large carrots, peeled and quartered
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2+ cups of vegetable broth OR filtered water (enough liquid to cover the potatoes and carrots)
½ tsp of kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or olive oil
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of curry powder
for the filling:
1 1/2 cups of lentils
3 cups of filtered water or broth
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
about 1 cup of diced turnips (optional)
3 cups of mushrooms (shiitakes or mixed) de-stemmed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
salt + pepper
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Boil the potatoes + carrots and cook the lentils:
- Place the sweet potatoes and carrots into a medium saucepan, and pour in enough liquid (water or broth) so the veggies are covered. Bring to a boil, and ook for 20-30 minutes until very tender. Strain the veggies from the liquid, mash them with a masher until super smooth, and then add in the salt, ghee or butter, garlic powder, curry power and stir to combine. Set aside until you're ready to assemble the casserole.
- Place the lentils and liquid in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the lentils and set aside.
Cook the filling + crisp the top:
- Pre-heat the broiler, the oven rack should be in the middle.
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about two minutes. Then add the turnips and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the lentils to the pan with the veggies, and add the apple cidar vinegar. Turn the heat off and give it a good stir.
- Transfer the lentils + veggies to an 8"x12" (or similar sized) baking dish. Spoon the sweet potato puree on top, and smooth it out using a knife or spatula.
- Place the dish in the oven under the broiler, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes start to turn brown around the edges. Broiler times vary greatly, so keep an eye on it, and feel free to adjust the timing if you know your broiler well.
- Allow to cool slightly, but serve warm.