Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is one of those comfort foods you crave when it’s cold outside. Delicious filling topped and covered with creamy mashed potatoes–how can you resist? Traditionally it’s made with a meaty-meaty (no, really, basically just meat!) filling and then topped with mashed potatoes. I first fell in love with the meaty version when I lived in Ireland for a year; my favorite little Irish restaurant in Galway served it as a staple on their dinner menu. Funny enough–I’ve never cooked the meaty kind myself; it’s delicious, but you can feel your arteries hardening as you eat it. Much to the dismay and disapproval of the Two Fat Ladies, I’ve only ever made vegetable shepherd’s pie. It’s decadent but not lethal; if you do it right, you’re eating deliciously flavorful braised vegetables beneath some flavorful olive oil mashed potatoes.

Here’s my take on Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie. I took this recipe and got rid of all the things your doctor would fuss over, while maintaining flavor.

What you’ll need:

  • Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes (from about four, good sized Russets; here’s a recipe I like!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 3(ish) cups no sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cups sliced mixed winter vegetables, such as celery, turnips, Brussels sprouts, parnips, butternut squash, etc. (I used pumpkin, fennel, mushrooms, and celery because that’s what was in my kitchen–really use any combination you’d like.)

Here’s How you’ll do it (because you’re going to want to do this!): 

1. Make the mashed potatoes. This can even be done a day or two in advance.

2. In a large soup pot, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, until they’re golden. Then add the garlic and cook 1 minute or until fragrant.

3. Stir in the 4 cups of vegetables and season with salt and pepper (to your liking). Add the thyme. Add the 3 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Preheat the oven to 425.

Vegetables have been added; now it's time to add the stock!
Vegetables have been added; now it’s time to add the stock!

4. Uncover, increase the heat to medium high,  and cook for about 10 minutes longer until there is very little stock left in the pot. Transfer the vegetables to a 9×9 baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the vegetables. Drizzle a little olive oil over the potatoes as well as a sprinkling of a little salt and black pepper (smoked paprika is good here too).

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then broil the mashed potatoes quickly and lightly to get a nice golden crust on the top.

6. Let it cool slightly and then eat your heart out.

Stay warm,

Josh

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