My sister included this in our Easter menu this year, though we have also served it at our Amish vs. Cyborg party last October and my birthday party and other meals. It may not be extremely elegant, but it is very tasty and filling – and easy to make ahead, always a nice thing for a big meal.
The first time my sister made this, she followed the recipe: it wasn’t enough. We ate it quickly, then divided up the last piece into unfortunately small pieces so we could have “seconds”. Ever since then we’ve always made it in much larger quantities: if we happen to get too enthusiastic and make more than we want leftovers for, it also freezes nicely.
It’s a vegetarian dish that is just as filling and homey as any other shepherd’s pie recipe. I like to use Bavarian mustard in the topping to give it a hint of sweetness without overpowering the savory flavors, and found Marmite at the Cost Plust World Market to supply the umami “fifth flavor” that helps make it so satisfying.
Lentil Meadow Pie
- 2.5 lbs potatoes
- 1 cup milk
- 3.5 Tbs butter
- 1/4 cup whole grain mustard (I like to use a sweet Bavarian mustard, but plain would be ok)
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups carrots, shredded
- 6 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cups green lentils
- 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 4 tsp yeast extract (such as Marmite or Vegemite, optional)
- 1 1/3 cups broth
- 2 tsp thyme
Cook potatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash with butter, milk, and mustard. Season to taste and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook onion until golden. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add lentils, tomatoes, yeast extract and stock and bring to a boil. Stir in thyme and continue to cook at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Check lentils to see if they are tender and add more water if it begins to look dry. Remove from heat and season to taste.
Spoon mixture into large ovenproof dish or 9×13″ pan. Cover with mashed potatoes, roughing up surface with a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through and top is golden.
You can view the photos larger in a slideshow on my flickr stream here.