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Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie


Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I brought this especially healthy version of shepherd's pie to the 2018 winter potluck in Portland, OR. The mashed potatoes include cauliflower for extra nutrition. Lentils and shiitake mushrooms provide the "meaty" taste.


Lentil topping:
10 ml2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
110 g4 oz shiitake mushrooms, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 zucchini, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon minced tarragon
10 ml2 teaspoons dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
240 ml1 cup carrots, peeled and diced small
180 ml3/4 cup du Puy lentils (French lentils), rinsed
710 ml3 cups vegetable broth
15 ml1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
120 ml1/2 cup frozen peas

2 russet potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets (1 lb, or about 3 cups)
15 ml1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 ml1/2 teaspoon salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper


Lentil Topping:
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 mins. Add the shiitakes, zucchini, garlic, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper; saute for 5 more mins.
Add the carrots, lentils, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 mins, stirring occasionally. By this point, the lentils should be tender and most of the broth should be absorbed. If that hasn't happened yet, then cover and simmer for a bit more. Conversely, if the broth has evaporated and the lentils are soft, then add a bit of water and simmer for a bit longer.
Once the lentils are soft, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and peas. Let sit for 10 mins or so for maximum flavor. Taste for salt.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots):
Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making sure there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the cauliflower. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 mins, until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato smasher to mash them a bit. (A regular fork works just fine.) Add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of broth, the seasonings and mix well. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons of broth. Taste for salt. Serve warm.

To serve: Scoop a cup of Caulipots into a bowl and serve a cupful of lentils over it.