It was a crummy day. Snowing (which didn't stay) and blowing and cold. J went to Toronto in the early afternoon to pick up Mama Rita who had spent the weekend with Aunt Peggy. I think Aunt Peggy has found a way out of holding a yard sale in the spring....she gives everything to Rita! :o) I assumed that J would be gone for a couple of hours at least. We're not football fans and even though we'd been invited for a Super Bowl get together, we graciously declined, because we just wanted to hang at home for the evening. Before he left, I asked J if he had any requests for dinner. He asked for Lentil Shepherd's Pie. We haven't had that in ages! So, while he was gone, I threw that together.
LENTIL SHEPHERD'S PIE
1 cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1-2 tbsp. oil (canola, olive, grapeseed, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I used jarred peppers because I had them)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato sauce (7 ounces, I think it is)
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash (the herb & garlic one)
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of sugar
as many potatoes as needed to cover top (I used 5-6 smallish-medium sized)
Tofutti sour cream
splash soy milk
Pour the vegetable stock into a medium to large saucepan. Add bay leaf and lentils. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes until lentils are soft. There will still be some liquid left.
Meanwhile heat oil in large pan. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add red peppers and saute for a couple of more minutes.
While you're doing this, peel and chop potatoes and boil until soft.
Pour in tomato sauce and all the spices. Add the lentils with the leftover liquid. You should have a nice sloppy gravy. Add pinch of sugar along with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain potatoes and mash. Add a spoonful of margarine and mix that in. Add a couple of big spoons of sour "cream" and stir that in. Add as much soy milk as you need to make creamy mashed potatoes.
Pour lentil mixture into a large casserole and top with mashed potatoes. You can pipe on nice designs or if in a hurry, smooth the potatoes on top and jazz it up a bit by running the tines of a fork through the potatoes.
Bake at 400F for about 30-40 minutes or until top of potatoes are nice and browned.
**If you wanted, you could add some nutritional yeast to the potatoes to make them a bit "cheezy".
We had this with a bottle of Lailey Vineyards 2003 Syrah. In the spring, we'd gone to Lailey for a Syrah tasting. We invited along Michelle and Joe and made an afternoon of it. It was a lot of fun. Derek Barnett hosted the tasting portion of the afternoon and provided us with some of the 2003 Syrah & some barrel samples of the 2004. We compared with a taste of Syrah from R.H. Phillips and one from another Niagara winery, Marynissen. Then to cap off the tasting, Derek gave us all a taste of a Syrah he'd had in his cellar. It was a 14 year old Syrah from Chapoutier! Oh my goodness. I drank heaven! We then had a light lunch at the winery and got to catch up a bit with Tonya Lailey. Then we were free to hit the tasting bar and got some yummy stuff poured by Derek that hadn't yet been released. He let us get a jump on everyone else and allowed us to buy some Riesling that had just barely been bottled. A lot of folks say that Syrah can't be grown successfully in Ontario. If we have a good year weather-wise it is possible. Lailey's 2003 is a good example. Because there was only a small amount of it available, we were limited to how much we could purchase. J & I picked up 3 bottles and they had been resting nicely since we brought them home. I took one out last night and it has improved even more. Kudos to Derek and the gang at Lailey. One of our favorite little wineries.