A good number of you have been asking for the recipe for my offbeat, healthy version of Shepherd’s Pie. Apologies for the late write up! The recipe was inspired by the Shepherd’s Pie my Mum used to make when I was little. I can still remember the smell of cheesy, luscious potato mash wafting around the house from the kitchen, and the dinner table battles over who would get the crunchy and caramalised corner bits.
Wonderful memories, but these days, when I’m in the mood for something comforting like Mum’s Shepherd Pie, I like to lighten things up a little and swap the beef mince for lentils and vegetables and amp up my vegetable intake even more by make a mash-topping from cauliflower and kale – it’s a shocking punk-green colour I know, but it tastes beautiful. Dotted with crumbly goats cheese and baked until golden this dish is moist, flavourful and very good for you.
FOR THE LENTIL + BEETROOT BASE
½ tbsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp caraway seeds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ large eggplant, chopped into 2 cm cubes
100 gm (approx. half a punnet) cherry tomatoes
50 gm semi-sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
225 gm cooked baby beetroots, chopped into quarters
1 cup vegetable stock, or water
4 sprigs fresh thyme
400 gm (one can) cooked lentils, rinsed, drained
Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
FOR THE KALE + CAULIFLOWER MASH
½ head cauliflower, florets chopped
1½ cups kale, roughly chopped
Handful of flat leaf parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Goats cheese, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a large pan, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and caraway seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add garlic and eggplant and cook for 1-2 minutes until eggplant is slightly softened. Add cherry tomatoes, semi-sundried tomatoes, beetroots, thyme, and vegetable stock.
2. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until eggplant is tender and the tomatoes are soft enough to squash with the back of a spoon. Squash them all to release all the sweet tomato juices. Stir in lentils and season. Transfer lentil mixture to a baking dish.
3. Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower in boiling water until tender.
4. Drain cauliflower and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add kale, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper and whiz until combined.
5. Spread mash over the lentil mixture. Dot with crumbly goats cheese and pop into the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden and bubbling.