Green Puy lentils are an excellent substitute for lamb in this vegetarian shepherds pie.
Puy lentils originate from central France where they're celebrated for their subtle peppery taste. Despite their small size the lentils hold they shape when cooked while still soaking up the flavors of the dish.
In this recipe the lentils are cooked with a variety of vegetables including celery, corn, okra and fresh herbs, topped with mashed potato and cheese. The pie is baked in the oven for 20 minutes or until the potato top is golden.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you have handy.
- 1 cup of puy lentils, soaked in cold water for 40 minutes
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 1 can of corn or 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1 cup of sliced okra
- 1Tbsp of finely chopped parsley
- 1 796 ml canned of whole tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Special equipment: baking dishes or ramekins
- 6 large yellow potatoes, peeled
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1 Tbsp of butter
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- Cheddar cheese of grating
- Drain the lentils. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the celery, carrots, corn and okra. Fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add the salt and chopped tomatoes to the mixture. Stir well and then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the water and the puy lentils, then lower heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until liquid reduces.
- Add the herbs and stir well. Taste the mixture and add more salt if necessary.
- Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until soft (about 25 minutes)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Drain the potatoes and then add milk, butter and salt. Beat with an electric mixture. The potatoes should be a little drier. Set aside.
- Once the liquid from the lentils has reduced, spoon them into the ramekins and then gently spread the mashed potato on top. Grate on the cheese and then bake pies in the oven for 20 minutes or until the potato has formed a crust.
- Remove the pies from the oven and then serve. To reheat the pies, simply put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350F.