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A FLAVORFUL VEGETARIAN SHEPHERDS PIE

Tonight we had a different version of Vegetarian Shepherds pie.  Although this did not photo well, it was darn tasty!  When it comes to a dish like this, I found that using a little more seasonings, the better the taste.

While I did not really measure out a whole lot of the ingredients, I will give a guideline here, but please do improvise for yourself based on taste in terms of the seasonings.

Mashed Potatoes:

5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters

3 Tblsp. butter

1/4 cup milk – we used Lactose Free 2% milk

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Vegetables/seasonings:

3 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 carrots sliced in half, then chopped (4-5 inch size carrots)

1 leek, sliced in half, rinsed well, and chopped

1 large shallot, halved and sliced

6 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup of diced  1/4 inch size rutabaga

1 small zucchini, halved and cut to 1/2 inch thick

broccoli florets – about 3/4 cup

3/4 cup cooked lentils

1/2 cup red wine

corn starch to make a slurry

Seasonings:  1 Bay Leaf, 2 Tblsp. dried onion, 1/2 a rounded tsp. dried rubbed sage, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. dried parsley, 2 good pinches dried tarragon, salt and pepper to taste.  (adjust seasonings to your preference – either adding more or less)

Cook the potatoes until soft.  Drain well, add in the butter and milk mashing well.  Set aside.  Once they are no longer hot, add in the Parmesan cheese and mix well.  Set aside.

Add the chopped carrots and rutabaga to a pot and enough water to cover.  Cook until tender – about 20 minutes.  Reserve water and set aside.

Heat up a large frying pan on medium/low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the mushrooms sauteing about 5 minutes.  Then add in the shallots, garlic, and leeks and the seasonings and bay leaf.  Continue to saute 5 minutes.  Pour in 1/4 of the carrot water and the wine and continue to simmer for a good 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli, stirring well and cover, leaving on a simmer for about 10 minutes.   Add in the remaining carrot water, zucchini, adjust for seasonings and continue to cook lid off until the broccoli is tender.  Add the carrots and rutabaga, then the lentils stirring to combine. Remove the bay leaf, and mix a small amount of cornstarch slurry, add to thicken stirring well.  Again adjust for any seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the thickened vegetables to a large casserole dish.  Cover with the mashed potatoes, spreading out evenly, and using a fork draw some lines over the mashed potatoes.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and serve hot.

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