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The other day I ran a search for some new vegetarian recipes. I can across a recipe on Epicurious.com (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetarian-Shepherds-Pie-355994) for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.
I always loved shepherd’s pie when I was growing up, but it was usually made with beef. This vegetarian recipe replaced the beef with seitan (a gluten product of some sort, don’t Google it, there are lots of nasty fake duck meat images). I chose to leave this out (a good call if you ask me). Most of the ingredients were also from our Late Fall Share from Farmer Dave’s, so we knew the ingredients were fresh and local. The great thing about a shepherd’s pie recipe is that you can add or remove pretty much any ingredient, use what you have on hand.
Another great thing about making homemade dishes, you can prepare it in multiple batches and give a home cooked meal to a parent, grandparent, friend. This recipe made 2 8″ cake pans worth of shepherd’s pie, so Meghan and I gave one pan to her parents. You can also just toss one in the freezer and have a quick and easy reheat dinner when you are busy.
To clean the leeks, which are often quite sandy or dirty, I find that if you cut them and then put them in a large bowl of water, the dirt and sand will sink to the bottom of the bowl (let them sit in the bowl for 10-15 minutes). Remove the cleaned leeks using a slotted spoon.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, cover and cook until the mushrooms begin to give off some liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, rosemary and thyme. Cook until the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables into a large bowl.
In the saucepan, add the wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the wine to about half. (NOTE: you can use any wine that you have open, we had white, but certainly a red would be great). Add the stock and bring back to a simmer.
In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of butter and flour, mix. Whisk the flour/butter mixture into the stock. Stir occasionally until sauce thickens. Add the vegetables and the onions. Cover and cook for 30 minutes at a low simmer. Transfer to 2 8″ cake pans or any other 8-12″ pans you have.
In a large pot, add the chopped potatoes and celeriac. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and cook until celeriac is fork-tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and add 1/2 a stick of butter the pot. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper, and cream. Mash with a potato masher (I usually use my Kitchen-Aid mixer, but was at my in-laws, so I used a masher). Season mash with salt and pepper as needed.
Cover your vegetable mix with mashed potato mix. Broil for about 5 minutes, until slightly browned.
A few other notes (even though I did finish off the bowl, and my father in-law loved it as well!), I think that peas would be a great addition. And some Parmesan cheese in the potatoes would be great too. This is a hearty warm dish that I am sure we will make several times during the cold winter here in Boston.