Roasted Root Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
I’m not going to lie, this dish is not a snap. This dish is not for a quick weeknight dinner or a last minute meal of any sort. Rather, this is the recipe you should bookmark for when the next blizzard hits and you have nothing better to do than cook and eat and do dishes and then eat again. It is labor intensive, makes lots of dishes and takes a while no matter how much multitasking occurs. However, if you can get over all that you’ll find yourself with a delicious winter meal that comforts those with cold feet and disparaged (because it’s still winter and will be for months more) hearts. Roasted root vegetables are combined with lentils and mushrooms in a thick red wine sauce, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes with gruyere cheese. Paired with a dark beer or full bodied glass of red wine, this dish just screams winter comfort. Which also just happens to make it the perfect post-shoveling reward. Enjoy and stay warm!
Roasted Root Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
We actually prefer to prepare the filling and topping, store them separately and then bake them in smaller, two person sized casserole dishes for dinner each night, rather than making one big casserole that requires reheating (smaller casseroles will bake roughly the same amount of time as a large one so don’t worry about that). You can also freeze them, assembled but unbaked, in small casserole dishes for later in the winter – just put them in the refrigerator to defrost in the morning and by dinner time they’re ready to be baked.
4 large carrots, 1/2 inch dice
2 turnips, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
10 oz frozen pearl onions
3/4 cup lentils, thoroughly rinsed
2 cups water
3 leeks, washed, white and light green parts in 1/2 inch coins
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned, 3/4 inch dice
3 tbs mi of freshly minced thyme and rosemary
3 tbs butter, softened
3 tbs all purpose flour
1 bottle full bodied red wine
3.5 cups vegetable stock, hot
3 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and 1/2 inch dice
5 tbs butter
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 450. Toss carrots, turnips and pearl onions with oil to coat and roast until caramelized, about 20 minutes, shaking the pan vigorously to turn the vegetables about halfway through.
While your vegetables roast, place your lentils in a medium pot and cover with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes until tender. The lentils should always be covered by a bit of water so depending on the size of your pot you may need to add hot water once or twice during cooking to keep them covered. When tender but not mushy, drain thoroughly and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add your leeks and a pinch of salt, stir, then cover and allow to cook until the leeks are soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add your garlic and saute a minute until fragrant, then add your mushrooms and herbs. Cook about ten minutes until the mushrooms are soft and have released a nice amount of their liquid. Remove the vegetables from the pot and set aside.
Pour your bottle of wine into the saucepan you used for the leeks and mushrooms and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about a cup, which will take 20-30 minutes.
While your wine reduces, make a beurre manié by stirring together butter and flour in a small bowl to form a paste.
When your wine is reduced, add your hot stock and bring to a simmer. Whisk in your beurre manié, and simmer 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. Add your roasted vegetables, cooked lentils, and mushroom leek mixture (including any mushroom juices).
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a vigorous simmer and cook until potatoes are tender – about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the still hot but now dry pot. Mash with a potato masher, then fold in butter and cheese, followed by egg yolks, sour cream and then milk. Generously salt and pepper and add any herbs you may wish – minced chives, rosemary or thyme are all nice additions. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat your oven to 425.
Place your filling in a 3 quart casserole dish and top with your mashed potatoes. Place casserole dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes until bubbling and the topping is golden brown with a few darker brown spots.
Allow to cool and set up for 10-15 minutes before serving.