Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

It's time for more fun with vegan imitation meats! I did some research into the origin of this dish, which was originally known as 'cottage pie' in Britain, and contained leftover meat topped with mashed potato, just as potatoes were becoming an edible crop available to the poor. In the late 1800s, the term 'shepherd's pie' began appearing, regardless of whether the meat used was mutton or cattle.

Well, aside from the interesting historical value of all that, it matters not a whit here because I used the meatless Smart Ground crumbles from Lightlife.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups minced onion and cook for 5 minutes. Next, the original recipe said to add 14 large mushrooms. It indicated that this would be about 12 ounces, so I opted to go with the weight over the quantity, meaning I used 11 large mushrooms, weighing in at 12 ounces. Add the mushrooms - whole, which seemed odd! - and 3 minced garlic cloves to the skillet; continue cooking for 8 minutes. Any liquid generated by the mushrooms should be absorbed.

Stir in one (12-ounce) package of fat-free meatless crumbles (such as Lightlife), crumbling it in your hands as you go.

Spoon 1/4 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine the flour in a bowl with 1 and 1/2 cups plain soy milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the skillet, and bring to a simmer; continue cooking for 2 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to an 11x7-inch baking dish. Evenly spread one drained (11-ounce) can of corn, over the top of the mixture - just give the ingredients on the canned corn a quick scan to make sure there is no added sugar in whatever brand you buy.

For the mashed potato topping, the original recipe called for a 20-ounce package of refrigerated potatoes, prepared according to package directions. Every brand I found, however, had milk and butter already in the mix. Instead, I bought the dehydrated instant mashed potatoes from Whole Foods' 365 brand, since these are a snap to prepare. To make the equivalent of a 20-ounce package, I combined 3 cups water with 2 cups of the flakes, and stirred in 3/4 cups of plain soy milk - check package directions of any variety you buy for specific measurements etc.

Stir 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream) and 2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) into the mashed potatoes. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top of the corn layer.

Bake the whole thing at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Midway through cooking, I added a cookie sheet under my baking dish, since the Shepherd's Pie was starting to bubble over and spill onto the floor of my oven - never a good thing! Once out of the oven, divide into 6 equal portions of 340 calories each for a hearty entree.

onion $1.21
mushrooms $4.83
meatless fat-free crumbles $3.00
canned corn $1.59
instant mashed potatoes $1.99
vegan sour cream $2.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance