Lentil Pie with Colcannon Mash

Is there anything more comforting and satisfying than a mashed potato topped pie? This is hearty and healthy family food. Perfect for a cosy evening weekday meal and also special enough, I think, for a Sunday lunch. Colcannon is a great way to get some extra greens in, and it’s crazy delicious! I also cook enough for two and freeze one for a rainy day…no shortage of those here in Ireland am I right?

Here’s the flexible and simple recipe. I hope you enjoy it and it becomes a part of your regular rotation. It’s certainly a winner in my house. Liz x

Ingredients (makes enough for 2 pies which serve 4 hungry people each)

  • 2 white onions – diced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 sticks of celery – diced
  • 6 carrots – diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic – sliced
  • 2 tbsp crumbled, dried mushrooms
  • 2 mugs of green or brown lentils – rinsed
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 glass of red/white wine (or a tbsp or two of vinegar)
  • 1 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 10 or so floury potatoes
  • 6 scallions/spring onions – chopped
  • a large bunch of kale or half a spring green cabbage – chopped
  • a generous knob of butter/margarine
  • a splash of oat milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasonal greens to steam and serve on the side
One for now, one for the freezer for a rainy day.

Method

You’ll need two large pots and two baking dishes. Preheat your oven to 200C. Get a large pot of water on to boil.

Peel your potatoes (or don’t if you prefer a rustic mash), chop them into even sized pieces and put them in the large pot of water to boil until soft.

Meanwhile make the lentil filling. Sauté the onion in the oil until starting to soften and turn golden. Then add the celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until fragrant. You can of course switch the base veg for whatever you have eg beetroot, parsnips, swede, mushrooms…

Add the rinsed lentils and the wine/vinegar. Give the pot a quick stir then add 6 mugs of water, crumble in the two stock cubes and the dried mushrooms. Add the dried herbs, bay leaves and some black pepper then simmer, stirring often, until the lentils are cooked and have soaked up most of the water. Add more water if needed, just keep an eye on it.

Put the chopped scallions in a wide bowl and just cover them with oat milk so that they can infuse their flavour through the milk.

Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the kale/cabbage to the pot to quickly steam in the last 3 minutes or so of the cooking time. Then fish them out and put them in the bowl with the oat milk and spring onions.

Drain and mash the potatoes with the butter and plenty of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Then stir the kale/cabbage, scallions and milk through the mash.

Taste the lentil filling and add more salt/pepper as needed. Them assemble the pies. Make one to eat now and one to cool down and freeze for another day?

Divide the lentil filling between two oven dishes, then divide the mash. Smooth it out and then rough it up a little with a fork so that you get nice crispy bits in the oven.

Put one of the pies in the oven to bake and crisp up. It’s still warm so it should only take 20 minutes or so. If you are cooking one from cold it will take a lot longer. You will need to cook a cold one covered with foil or a baking tray until hot in the middle, then remove the foil/baking tray for the last 15 minutes or so to allow the pie to take on some colour.

Serve with seasonal greens and enjoy!

Beet Bourguignon

This is my plant based take on the classic French stew. Beetroots have a beautifully earthy, almost bloody quality which seeps and simmers into a spectacularly rounded sauce. I roast wedges of beetroot and onion, chunks or whole mushrooms and whole, peeled cloves of garlic before starting the lentil stew to create a complexity of flavour you wouldn’t get from simply simmering everything together.

Roasting caramelises the edges of vegetables and brings little sweet and smokey flavours and textures to the finished dish. It’s those layers of flavour…the outer edges that caramelise, the middle that is sweet and soft, the simmering richness, the fragrance of bay and thyme leaves, the tang and texture of red wine…that make a simple stew into a memorable meal. Serve on mashed potatoes or with good bread, some wilted greens, whatever is in season, and a dollop of Dijon mustard. Enjoy in front of a fire on a chilly winters evening with a glass of red wine. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Method

Turn your oven on to 200C and put the beetroot, onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms in an oven and hob safe pot. Drizzle a tbsp or so of olive oil over the vegetables, season them generously with salt and pepper and mix well.

Roast the vegetables in the oven until they take on some colour and start to soften. This should take around 30 minutes. Take the pot out of the oven and stir the vegetables every 10 minutes or so to ensure each vegetable feels the full force of the heat and gets a little caramelised.

Then bring the pot onto the hob and add the mug of lentils, the thyme, bay leaves and mug of wine. Get the pot on to simmer and add the water or stock.

Let the dish simmer until the lentils are cooked through. This should take around 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add more water or stock if it starts to dry out.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper as you like. Then serve with good bread or mashed potatoes and some wilted greens.

Illustrations from my cookbook, Cook Draw Feed. Available to add to your next order here.

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