Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping

I could’ t recommend this veggie version of shepherd’s pie enough. I first tried it when I had to prepare a dinner  for a few vegetarians some time ago. Since then it became my choice of preference, even over meaty version. Addition of the red wine is a must!

VEGGIE SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH SWEET POTATO TOPPING

(adapted from BBC Good Food collection)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

2 large carrots, finely cubed

2 celery sticks, finely cubed

2 tablespoons thyme, chopped

200ml red wine

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 vegetable stock cubes

400g cooked green/puy lentils (alternatively 1x410g canned lentil)

About 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks

25g butter

85g mature cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots, celery and thyme,  continue to cook for a few more minutes. Then pour in the wine, 150ml of water and the tomatoes, sprinkle the stock cubes and simmer for 15 minutes. Tip in the lentils and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile boil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes or until cooked, drain well and mash with the butter, season well to taste.
  3. Pile the lentil mixture into a pie oven-proof dish, spoon the mash on top, sprinkle over with the grated cheese and some extra thyme if you wish. At this stage, pie can be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
  4. If you are cooking straight away, heat the oven up to 180C. Cook for 20 minutes if cooking straight away, or for 40 minutes from chilled. In both cases cook until golden on the top and hot  and bubbly all the way through. Serve with green veggies of your choice.
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Sweet potatoes, Black beans, Crispy onions and Feta cheese

Here is another one of my adaptations of a Nigel Slater recipe, from his book Eat. In this recipe, his is more like a carrot soup with toppings, which is lovely, but by making it a few times I decided to convert this recipe into the main dish.

The original recipe calls for boiled carrots, but I opted for sweet potatoes instead and to roast them first to intensify their sweet flavour.

Roasted sweet potatoes are pureed and studded with spiced black beans before being crowned with a generous scoop of fried onions.

Sweet potato, black beans, crispy onion and coriander

Mix

SWEET POTATO, BLACK BEANS AND CORIANDER

Ingredients:

600g sweet potatoes
60g butter
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 x 400g can of canned black beans
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil for roasting
salt and pepper to season
fresh coriander leaves (optional)

feta cheese and fresh chilli to serve (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Cut the sweet potato into cubes, place them on baking tray with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until it’s done.
3. Meanwhile melt 30g butter in a pan, add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds and toast for a minute or two. Drain two cans of black beans and add them to the pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes until it’s warmed through. Leave aside.
4. On another pan melt 30g butter, add the sliced onion and fry until golden brown. Scatter in a large pinch of dried chilli flakes and further teaspoon of mustard seeds. Sizzle briefly. Leave aside.
5. Puree or just roughly mash the cooked sweet potatoes, season to your taste.
6. Divide the pureed sweet potatoes between two large bowls or four smaller bowls and stir in black beans, top bowls with fried onions and garnish with Feta cheese and coriander leaves.
Pureed sweet potato, black beans, feta cheese, crispy onion and coriander

Sweet Potato & Cashew Nut Tart Tatin

IMG_1106

This is one of my favourite use of polenta. It is an unusual take on on a well known Tart Tatin, using polenta as a base and Indian spices as a perfect partner. It works well, providing a mild base and more powerful, rich curried topping.

SWEET POTATO & CASHEW NUT TART TATIN

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

600 g sweet potatoes (cut in cubes)

1 red onion (cut in cubes)

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon black onion seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon malt vinegar

70 g cashew nuts

200 g polenta

salt,pepper to taste

Plus: 22sm springform tin

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly brush the inside of a springform tin with oil. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil , add the sweet potato and cook for 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, add the spices and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add sugar and vinegar, stir over a medium heat for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained sweet potato and cashew nuts, string to coat everything evenly. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, pressing down lightly.

3. Bring 800 ml of water to the boil in a large saucepan and add polenta, string constantly with the whisk. Cook for a few minutes, stirring until thickens, then remove from the heat and season well with salt and pepper. Spread it evenly over the vegetables in the tin with the palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the polenta is firm and beginning to shrink from the side of the tin. Leave to stand for 2 minutes then run the point of the knife around the edge and turn out onto a plate.

4. Serve the tart hot as a main course, with a fresh tomato salad or any of your favourite greens, or as a side dish with the meat main.