Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This was casserole was truly a one-dish meal. It is so loaded with vegetables, I didn’t feet the need to serve it with a salad or other green on the side. 🙂 We enjoyed it as our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year. The “meaty” combination of lentils and mushrooms in this dish made my meat-loving family members happy. Don’t worry… they had corned beef sandwiches for lunch too.

My riced-potato topped casserole was filled with lentils, mushrooms, fresh herbs, as well as roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots. The sauce was flavored with dried porcini mushrooms, wine, onions, and loads of garlic. It was fabulously saucy with layers of rich flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Next time, I would prepare the components of the dish a day in advance, as much as possible. The potato topping would ideally be prepared in advance at the very least. This delicious dish was absolutely worth the work and the wait! Great.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Topping:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • Âľ cup brown or French green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 17 garlic cloves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 2 tablespoons white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups ½-inch pieces peeled fall/winter vegetables (such as squash, turnips, carrots, and parsnips) (I used 1 medium butternut squash, 1 head of cauliflower, & 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed, halved
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) bite-size pieces mixed fresh mushrooms (I used sliced cremini & white button mushrooms)
  • ÂĽ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, chives, and sage)

To Make the Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bake potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet until tender, about 40 minutes for the gold potatoes and 1 hour for the russet potatoes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then peel.
  4. Press potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or colander into a large bowl.
  5. Add butter; stir until well blended.
  6. Stir in milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool, press plastic wrap directly onto potatoes, and chill.

To Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Combine lentils, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15–25 minutes.
  3. Drain lentils and discard garlic. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Soak dried porcini in 3 cups hot water; set aside.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 10 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste is caramelized, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and wine; stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in porcini, slowly pouring porcini soaking liquid into pan but leaving any sediment behind.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl with a spout. Discard the solids.
  11. Wipe Dutch oven clean and returned strained sauce to pot; bring to a boil. (I had 5 cups of strained sauce.)
  12. Stir cornstarch and 3 T water in a small bowl to dissolve.
  13. Add cornstarch mixture to hot sauce; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Whisk in soy sauce/miso.
  15. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Vegetable Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss vegetables and pearl onions with remaining 2 T oil, 6 garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl or on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide evenly between the 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, stirring once, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; mash well with a fork and stir into sauce.
  5. Discard rosemary.

DO AHEAD: Lentils, sauce, and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Arrange lentils in an even layer in a 3-qt. baking dish; set dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh mushrooms and chopped herbs; layer on top of lentils.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. Spoon potato mixture evenly over. Swirl decoratively.
  5. Bake at 425°, preferably on convection, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process.
  6. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

I’m sharing my St. Patrick’s Day feast at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #163 this week. Enjoy!!

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Green-Lentil Curry

I just feel so healthy eating a dish like this. 🙂 Served over brown rice with yogurt and warm naan, this dish is an amazing complete vegetarian meal. The lentils have a little bit of heat and the yogurt tempers it perfectly.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Madhur Jaffrey. It was voted one of their “Best New Vegetarian” dishes. I believe it! 🙂 I doubled the recipe, used French green lentils, a combination of ghee and coconut oil, and substituted beet and turnip greens for the kale. Satisfying and tasty!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 4 garlic clove, put through a garlic press
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoon of water
  • 2 1/2 cups dried French green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 8 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
  • 8 ounces kale, or other greens stemmed and leaves cut into ribbons (I used about 10 cups of mixed beet & turnip greens)
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • brown Basmati rice, warm naan, and plain Greek yogurt, for serving
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander and ground cumin. Stir in 1/2 cup of water to make a paste.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling.
  3. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer. IMG_0461
  5. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 10 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.
  6. Add the green beans, greens, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt.
  7. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.
  8. Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

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Salmon with French Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

This may need to become a gold standard dinner party dish. (I really need to have more dinner parties!!) It was healthy (maybe?), elegant, and absolutely delicious. We ate it for Easter dinner this year- the salmon was very flavorful and everyone was begging for more lentils. What a great crowd! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Gourmet, contributed by Shelley Wiseman, via Epicurious.com. I increased the amount of leeks. We ate it with Asparagus and Fava Beans with Toasted Almonds. Wonderful!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Mustard-Herb Butter:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 3 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the Lentils:

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium to large leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:

  • 6 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet (I portioned a 2-ish pound salmon fillet)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Make mustard-herb butter:

  1. Stir together all ingredients with heaping 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Cook the lentils:

  1. Bring lentils, water, and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.
  3. While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash and drain. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with scant 5 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted.
  5. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Sauté salmon while leeks cook:

  1. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total).
  2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
  3. Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils. (I placed the mustard-herb butter over the warm fish on the plates prior to serving.)

Notes:

  • Mustard-herb butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften at room temperature before using (1 hour).
  • Lentils can be cooked (but not drained) 1 day ahead and chilled in cooking liquid, covered (once cool).

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French Green Lentil & Beet Salad with Orange-Mustard Vinaigrette

IMG_4978

My husband was on vacation last week and really wanted to grill a steak (for himself!) for dinner. When he made his special (out of the ordinary – for us) dinner, I made this special lentil salad for my dinner. 🙂 He ate it as a side dish too. I had orange beets from my CSA share to include in the salad, although red beets may have added more contrast in the finished dish. We ate the beet greens sautĂ©ed with CSA Swiss chard and leeks on the side. This recipe was adapted from Saveur. The dressing has a bright, wonderful flavor; I substituted Herbs de Provence for lavender.

  • 3/4 to 1 pound beets, scrubbed clean
  • 7 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups French green lentils
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice (about 6 Valencia oranges)
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (1/8″ mandolin)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rub beets with 2 T olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 8″-square baking dish and cover with foil; cook until tender, about 1 hour on convection roast. Let cool, then peel beets and chop; set aside.
  2. Bring lentils, bay leaves, and 4 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tender but not mushy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, discarding liquid and bay leaves.
  3. Toast mustard seeds in a 10″ or 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until they begin to pop, 1-2 minutes. Add juice; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add Herbs de Provence.; cook until juice is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 20-30  minutes. Whisk in honey and remaining 5 T oil.
  4. Add beets, lentils, red onion, salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Lentil-Kielbasa Soup

I make this soup from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, (via Martha Stewart Living) every year. I usually make it around Thanksgiving because when I used to order our turkey at the local butcher, I picked up some terrific kielbasa made in Lindenhurst, New York. The past couple of years, I changed to a brined Trader Joe’s turkey- but I still go to the butcher to get the kielbasa. I made this soup after Thanksgiving this year and it was the best it has ever been! We love it already, but the use of homemade turkey stock and fresh parmesan grated over the top made it even more wonderful.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large yellow onions (about 3 pounds), finely chopped
  • 3 medium leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds), white part only, cut into 1/4-inch half moons and washed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 T coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 8 stalks (about 1 1/2 pounds) celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 pound (about 6) carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 T red-wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. (I always skip this step!)
  2. Warm the olive oil in a large stockpot set over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper, and sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and sauté, stirring frequently, 5 minutes more. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils; cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Uncover, reduce heat to medium low, and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through, about 1 hour. Stir in the sausage and red-wine vinegar, and simmer until sausage is heated through, about 5 minutes more. Serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

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