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Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is an old English favourite made with minced beef or lamb. This vegetarian version uses a hearty winter vegetable stew and stock.
Preparation time: 1 hour,
Cooking time : 2 1/4 hours,
Oven : Preheat to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5),
Calories per serving: 350

ingredients

serves 6
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
1 oz (25 g) butter
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 pint (570 ml) vegetable stock
1 glass red wine
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the stew

4 medium carrots
1 celeriac
2 teaspoons lemon juice
10 oz (275 g) parsnips
10 oz (275 g) mushrooms
1 small cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
5 oz (150 g) brussels sprouts
1 1/2 oz (40 g) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 pint (150 ml) vegetable stock

for the topping

4 medium potatoes
1 oz (25 g) butter
4 tablespoons whole or semi-skimmed milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. To make the sauce, dice the onions into 1/2 in (15 mm) squares, and finely chop the garlic. Heat the butter and oil gently in a casserole, then add the diced onions, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has turned golden. Heat the stock.

2. Add the garlic and wine to the onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the flour and simmer for another 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot stock and bring to the boil. Half cover the casserole and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the parsley, season to taste, and remove from the heat.

3. For the stew, peel the carrots and cut them into pieces 1 1/2 inch (40 mm) long. Peel the celeriac, cut into large cubes and place in a bowl of water with the lemon juice. Peel, quarter, core and roughly chop the parsnips. Clean the mushrooms and leave them whole if small, or roughly chop them. Break the cauliflower into large florets. Finely chop the garlic.

4. Boil a pan of water and add the cauliflower. Blanch for 30 seconds, then remove and rinse under cold water and put to one side. Add the brussels sprouts to the boiling water for 1 minute, rinse and reserve.

5. Melt half the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan or casserole, and add the sticks of carrot.
Cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the chopped thyme and all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the vegetable stock. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes.

6. In a second pan, heat the remaining butter and oil and add the mushrooms. Saute them over a high heat until brown, then add the rest of the stock and the garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add to the carrot sticks in the pan or casserole along with the mushrooms and garlic, the drained celeriac and the parsnips. Cover tightly and cook over a low heat for 3 minutes, then stir in the sauce, cauliflower, sprouts and fresh herbs. Season to taste. Transfer to a casserole, cover and bake for 40 minutes.

7. To make the topping, boil or steam the potatoes in chunks and lightly mash with a fork. Mix in the butter and milk and season to taste. Raise the Oven temperature to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Put the stew in a baking dish and spread the potato over the top. Bake for 40 minutes until the potato browns and the sauce bubbles to the surface. Serve immediately.

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