Now that St. Patrick’s day has passed and spring is here, my thoughts are turning to lighter fare but before we switch modes here at the House of Snuggles, I want to do one last post about comfort food.
I really enjoy the chilly months here in the great state of Arizona. The weather is just about perfect and I don’t have to shovel snow, dig my car out of ditches, or freeze my ass off walking from my car to my door (I had 27 years of this and then I finally said enough.) Even though the desert is more temperate during the winter, the season still makes me crave comfort food and one of my favorite comfort dishes is Shepherd’s Pie (must be the Irish in me and my love of potatoes.)
Shepherd’s Pie is a marathon of sorts but the end result is totally worth it. There are three main components that are combined together and baked into one delicious casserole type thingy. You have a meat and veggie layer, a gravy layer and a mashed potato layer. This recipe is adapted from the Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. This is a really awesome vegetarian cookbook that has hundreds of recipes from countries around the world. All the recipes are super easy to veganize and all the ones that I have tried taste amazing.
The original recipe calls for defrosted tofu to get that ground beef texture. I have made it this way before and it is pretty good. This time I decided to experiment and substituted TVP (textured vegetable protein.) It has a protein content equivalent to meat and works really well as a ground beef in anything that might call for that type of texture (it’s really awesome in chili.)
1lb package of Extra Firm Tofu, frozen, de-thawed, and shredded. (Best to do this a day or so in advance) or 1C of reconstituted TVP
1 medium onion
2T vegetable oil
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2C of walnuts, toasted and chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon (approx 1T)
1-2tsp of tamari
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat. When oil is heated, sauté onions with the coriander and pepper, until translucent. Add chopped walnuts and shredded tofu, stir to mix. Add lemon juice and soy sauce and remove from heat and set aside.
*I like to add extra veggies, like carrots, peas and corn, to give this some added nutrition. There are no rules here, add whatever you think might be tasty.*
Mashed Potato Layer
1lb potatoes, cubed
3T of vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
1/2 of non-dairy milk, I prefer almond milk
pinch of salt
Place cubed potatoes into a large pot and add enough water to cover. You should have about a couple of inches of water above the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Let boil until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Strain but make sure you reserve your potato water for your gravy. Return to a large bowl, add butter, milk and salt and mash everything together. Set aside.
2T vegetable oil
1/2lb of white mushrooms, sliced
Pinch of ground pepper
1 1/2C potato water
2T cornstarch dissolved in 1/2C of water
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, tamari, and black pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender. Add the potato water and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. While simmering, slowly stir in cornstarch mixture, and simmer and stir until the gravy is clear and thick.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a 9×9 casserole dish, lay down your first layer of “meat” and veggies. Next layer your mushroom gravy on top of the meat layer. Lastly, smooth your mashed potatoes evenly across the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top become golden and crisp.
That’s it. Not a difficult recipe but it is kind of tedious so this would be a good recipe for a day when you have some time.