Mollie Katzen can do no wrong, especially in the sense that her recipes seem to welcome creativity. Exhibit A: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. I took this recipe from a fellow blogger’s adapted version taken from Mollie’s exceptional book, The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest and added a little bit of my own twist. My adaptations* are included below. Please note: this is the most delectable, comforting, cozy, pajama-friendly feast you may ever enjoy.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Tater Topping (make first):
2 large potatoes
1T butter (or oil)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
½c minced fresh parsley
1T oil & 1/3c dry red wine*
1½c minced onions
4 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh black pepper to taste
1 med. celeriac (celery root), finely minced*
1 lb mushrooms, chopped (prefer Cremini & baby Bellas)*
2 small Mexican squash*
1 medium bell pepper, minced
2t dried basil
½t dried thyme
½t dried oregano
1-1½c soy crumble*
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (leave out to make vegan)
cayenne to taste
Make the Tater Topping:
Peel or scrub the potatoes, and cut them into 1 inch chunks. Cook in plenty of boiling water until soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-large bowl. Add butter, garlic, and milk, and mash well. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir in the parsley. Set aside.
Make the Veggie Hash (and assemble the pie):
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Have ready a 2 quart casserole or its equivalent (ex. a 9x13 baking pan).
2. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the onion, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to soften.
3. Add garlic, salt, pepper, celery root, mushrooms, squash, and bell pepper. Stir until well combined, cover, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the herbs, stir, and cover again. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the squash is perfectly tender. *Deglaze with wine mixture by stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Let cook until simmering and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the soy crumble and cheese. Add cayenne to taste. Transfer this mixture to the casserole or baking pan, and spread it out.
5. Spoon and./or spread the mashed potatoes completely over the vegetables. *Rough up the surface of the potatoes so there are bits that will get browned and crunchy. Dust generously with paprika.
6. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and bubbly around the edges.