Vegan Shepard’s pie with roasted root veggies, French lentils, and topped with truffle infused whipped yam

November 15th 2013

Every time I go to visit my family in Utah I gain 5 lbs.… never fails, this last time I was only there 5 days!  I wish I could go about blaming altitude or something else, but it was probably my lack of self-control on what I was gobbling.  So I figured now may be a good time to go back to some plant based foods.  With Thanksgiving just around the bend I thought it would be a perfect time to blog a vegan main that would work great for such a holiday.  The place I  work serves a version of lentil Shepard’s pie as our "go to" vegan entrée and there is blog after blog of recipes on the subject, I checked out several and I must say my favorite was Bon Appetit's version, although way to fussy and complicated for a comfort food dish, it did have a great idea to roast several varieties of root veggies and add them to the mix, they opted for russets on top, I went with yams, and they had a ridiculously complicated gravy that would make the seasoned chef scoff (come on its Shepard’s pie people!), so I simplified that, and added a bit here, left out something superflerious there, and left out ALL animal products, I even got some Earth balance “butter” to test if it could stand up to the taste I was after, oh and I might’ve drizzled the whipped yams with a bit of white truffle oil and that is never a bad thing.  So there she blows…….You will need:
1 cup brown French lentils, cooked in 4 cups boiling water, reduce heat, until done, but not mushy (20 min), drain.
1 parsnip, peeled, medium dice
2 carrots, peeled, medium dice
1 rutabaga, peeled, medium dice
1 small butternut squash, peeled, medium dice
10 cippollini onions, peeled and cut in half, if you can’t find these frozen pearl onions are ok.
½ of a head of cauliflower cut into florets
5 cloves garlic, yes 5, peeled.
8 oz fresh mushrooms, your choice, I used crimini
1 tbsp. bragg’s liquid aminos
3 tbsp. olive oil
A handful chopped herbs, I used flat leaf parsley, sage, and thyme.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, small dice
1 15 oz can good quality crushed tomatoes
A palmful of dried porcini mushrooms, tea’d up with about ¼ cup hot water
1 ½ Cup dry white wine
2 cups veggie stock
2 tbsp. white miso or soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large yams
2 tbsp. earth balance “butter”
¼ Cup almond milk, I love, love, love Califa farms!  It’s the best, I have three different varieties in my fridge as I type!
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle of white truffle oil, trust me….you can thank me later.
In a pre-heated 450 degree oven, bake yams on sheet pan, skin on for about 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.  Cool long enough that you can handle them, peel off skin, put the insides in a stand mixer with “butter” and milk, whip till light and fluffy, turn down speed add truffle oil.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large bowl combine all the veggies for the filling except mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil, spread evenly onto two sheet pans and roast in oven at same temp as the yams cooked for about 25 minutes.
In a medium saucepan lug a bit of olive oil and add onions for sauce, cook down over medium heat for 15 minutes or so.  Add tomatoes, cook 10 more minutes, deglaze with wine, reduce by half, add stock, cook 20 minutes and then blend together, with a blender or an immersion blender is what I used, doing this sort of naturally thickens your sauce without having to add any additional thickeners.
In a 3 quart casserole dish place cooked lentils, top with roasted veg, sprinkle with fresh herbs, and spoon over the sauce, paying close attention to every nook and cranny.  Top with yams and bake 30 minutes or so on the same temp till bubbly and browned.  Let sit at least 15 minutes before feasting!  Old turkey might have some competition this year!