Classic Traditional Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
225g lentils (red or brown)
1 large onion
1 stick celery
2 field mushrooms
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
Large pinch of chilli powder
1 bay leaf
1 vegetable stock cube
Tin of tomatoes
800g potatoes (approx 6 medium potatoes) (mashed, creamed with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper & nutmeg)
Salt & pepper to taste
1) Place washed lentils in approximately 400mls of fresh water in a large heavy base saucepan. Add the stock cube and the bay leaf. Bring to the boil. Remove excess starch with a spoon, when they start to boil. Boil for approx 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 10 minutes if red lentils (or 20 mins if brown lentils), until the lentils are tender. Take note of the water level and add the odd spoonful of water if required. Stir regularly, ensuring they do not stick to the base of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and place aside.
Separately, fry the onion in the rapeseed oil on a moderate heat. After 5 minutes add the chopped celery, grated carrots and mushrooms. Add the three herbs and the chilli powder to the vegetables. Stir regularly. Ensure there is enough oil and/or water in the mixture to allow cooking. Continue to fry for approx 10 minutes. Next, add a large squeeze of tomato puree and the tin of tomatoes. Mix well and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add the cooked vegetables and tomatoes to the cooked lentils in the large saucepan. Mix well. Continue to cook on a low to moderate heat for a further 10 minutes, stir regularly. Remove the bay leaf, add salt and pepper according to your taste. Ensure the mixture is not dry.
Spoon the mixture into an oiled, shallow oven-proof dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the mixture.
Place in a preheated oven, bake at 180’ for 30 minutes or until golden brown