This is my vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie. For those of you who don’t know, Shepherd’s Pie is a British dish made with minced lamb (hence the shepherd) and vegetables topped with mashed potato and baked in the oven. It is classic, British, cold weather comfort food. I have replaced the minced lamb with lentils and put some goat’s cheese through the mash. The idea came from seeing these goats and sheep grazing together while I was walking the dog…..
They like to eat trees….
I remembered that there is a local goat’s & sheep’s cheese producer in Alhaurin, where we live, that I have been meaning to check out for a while.
“The Shepherd of the Valley Cheeses”
I was greeted by this dog as I got out of the car. If by greeting you mean, barking constantly, following me and trying to bite me as I left. But don’t let that put you off. They have great selection of goat’s and sheep’s cheeses, just ring on the bell…
I bought this hard goat’s cheese (it looks like Manchego) which is delicious. Every goat’s cheese I’ve bought before has been the soft rind kind that is sold in supermarkets. This is quite different and a nice change. It is quite crumbly and the flavour is sharper than a sheep’s or cow’s milk Manchego.
They also have a goat’s Requeson which is a type of ricotta that I am looking forward to trying next time I go. I will try to take some more pictures then and I would like to have a proper tour of the factory when I’m not being chased by a big dog……
“Goatherd’s” Pie Recipe
serves 4-5, vegetarian
- 5 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
- about 75ml goat’s milk
- 75-100 gr goat’s cheese, grated or crumbled plus extra for topping
- salt & black pepper
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 big, red (or not) onion chopped
- 3 celery stalks & leaves, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 a large sweet potato (or 2 carrots) diced
- 5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced
- a handful of frozen peas
- about 175 gr (1 cup) uncooked brown lentils
- 400 ml (2 cups) veg stock
- 200 ml (1 cup) water
- 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 tsp fresh/dried thyme leaves chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 4 tbsp or more of tomato passata (tomate frito)
- 1 tsp english mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- breadcrumbs (I used toasted garlic breadcrumbs)
- grated/crumbled goat’s cheese
- olive oil
Put the potatoes in cold salted water, bring up to the boil, reduce the heat slightly and cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are very tender. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Heat up the goat’s milk and pour it onto the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher until smooth, stir in the goats cheese and season well with salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning/add more cheese. Set aside.
Rinse the lentils in a sieve and pick out any stones. Put them in a small pan with the veg stock and water, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 - 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked but still holding their shape.
Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a deep pan, over a medium heat and throw in the onions, celery, sweet potato/ carrots and season well with salt & black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and sweet potato have softened then add the garlic, herbs & spices. Stir everything together until well combined. If it dries out at any stage add a splash of wine or veg stock. Preheat the oven to 200C. Add the mushroom, peas, tomato passata/frito, Worcestershire sauce & mustard to the vegetables. Lower the heat slightly and continue cooking, stirring, adding more tomato passata if it’s looking dry. When the lentils are cooked tip them into the veg saucepan, combine everything well, check for seasoning and pour into a baking dish.
Top with the mashed potato, spread it out evenly, sprinkle/crumble over the goat’s cheese, then the breadcrumbs and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling around the edge..
Serve with a green salad for lunch or for something more substantial steam some broccoli and serve it with some veggie gravy on the side…
Maybe I should take some for that dog next time….