I said that I was trying new things, and this recipe is no exception! I had heard about Shepard’s Pie many times before and I knew that it is traditionally made with Lamb meat, but after buying a bag of lentils on sale I was looking for some interesting ways to use them. Plus I had some of those flaky potatoes to use leftover from when I got my wisdom teeth out, so Shepard’s pie seemed like it would be an intriguing way to use up both. This was my first time ever eating lentils or making them. I was nervous because I don’t have a great track record with dried beans, however since you don’t have to rehydrate these before you use them it was quite easy, for even someone as novice with beans as me.
To start out I’m going to be blunt, as a note I did not make mine vegan. However it just takes one super quick and easy change to make this dish vegan. Since I do not live the vegan lifestyle it wasn’t a big deal to switch vegetable broth for chicken broth because that’s what I have on hand. But if you do have a vegan lifestyle just follow the recipe and you have a new tasty meal! But anyways! That comes later, you’ll see!
The recipe is originally from the Minimalist Baker, however as you’ll see I just used this recipe as a stepping stone to make this dish my own.
To start off I knew I was going to have to lower the amounts of this recipe. As you know by now, the only baking dish I have is a pie pan, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fit this whole recipe into it. (Although as you will see I still pushed it close!) To make this easier to explain, I will put their original recipe and then I will put my adapted recipe to show my changes! So to start out, here is the Minimalist Bakers original ingredients:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans and corn
They also included the recipe they used for the potatoes on top, but since I just used instant mashers for that I left that part out. Now I will give you my ingredients for this dish:
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cups uncooked green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 Can Corn, drained
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- handful baby carrots (or 2 full sized carrots) diced
- 1/4th very large zucchini
- about 4 tablespoons instant potato flakes
Before you add your lentils, please make sure to sort through them. While sorting through mine I did find a small rock. That would not have been fun to find with my teeth….. ow.
Since I had these fresh vegetables on hand I figured that they would be great in place of the bag of frozen veggies. It was a great idea but I may have gone over zealous on the veggies because I still had problems trying to fit all of my ingredients in the final pan. I added my veggies at the same time as my onion and garlic with olive oil. If you are using frozen veggies just use them at the same time as the original recipe. I was afraid that by adding my veggies at the beginning they might be over done by the end but they were PERFECT! They still had some firmness, while being fully cooked so I was definitely happy. Since I did add so much veggies, instead of halving the broth I used 3/4ths the amount so that it could cook it all and still have a decent amount of gravy.
You want a close up?? Well even if you don’t, I got one for you!
Look at that.. MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm.
When I was at the 30 minute mark I added the 4 tablespoons of instant potato flakes (not made) to thicken the broth. If you are using real mashed potatoes just use the recipes 2 tablespoons like recommended. Let that simmer for a few minutes to thicken and then remove from the heat and add to your final baking pan.
Also to note, this recipe did take me longer than an hour from start to finish, but that is possibly because I had never made it before, (and had to chop more veggies). However to make this quicker for myself, I made the base a head of time, and then when it was time to finish off, all I had to do was mix up some taters ( I used the boxes instructions for 4 servings), spread them over the pan, sprinkle with some thyme and cracked pepper and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Instead of just making this the day of, you could also make it a few days ahead of time and leave in the fridge to save yourself some time. This seriously takes the pressure off of having to make a long meal the night of. If you are going to make homemade mash potatoes instead of the flakes, you could even make these ahead of time. I am all for saving yourself some time on the busy days.
As you can see I used a fork around the edges to make some ridges. I did this at the time to make it look pretty, however after eating it I wish I would’ve done more ridges! The ridges browned up nicely and were sooo tasty!. If you don’t want to make the ridges, yet still want it to brown you could also whisk up an egg and brush over the tops of the potatoes.
I have a close up of this one too…. See?
Overall this recipe was great! I would definitely make it again. Even Christian approved of the whole thing, (even though he doesn’t normally like zucchini, it blended in well enough that he didn’t mind it!) I don’t know if I have any major recommended changes because it was very good. I can’t wait to try more variations of Shepard’s Pie in the future! This recipe made plenty for the two of us and we have so much leftovers. This recipe was easy, just took some time. After everything was in the pot it was just stirring every once in awhile for a half hour, no complicated techniques at all.This recipe would be easy for a beginning cook and tasty enough for experienced chefs to take the time to make!
Here’s what it looks like served up on your plate!
I hope you have enough thyme to try this recipe! 😉 If you try this recipe, please let me know how it goes for you!
Happy Eating & Thanks for Reading!