Farmer’s Pie*

So, I know how farmer’s pie (formerly Shepherd’s Pie) got on the menu-it got on the menu because I was just looking for tasty dairy-free foods and I wasn’t thinking of cooking time or how come recipes require a ton of prep. Like this recipe, for example. It is definitely not a weekday recipe. Note to future self.

This recipe includes 3/4 cup of homemade kale pesto and half a recipe of fu-tagge cheese, which is the (also homemade) dairy-free knock off of cottage cheese. Neither of these things were difficult to make. The pesto required chopping and food processing and the fu-tagge cheese just required pressing, crumbling and mixing with a dressing. But, these things had to be done before the main pie preparation could begin.

This recipe also required making mashed potatoes and a lentil and vegetable mixture. None of these were difficult, but they can all be a little time-consuming, even when you cut corners to save time. From beginning to end (and including puttering around time) the whole process took around 2 hours. This is why it is not a weekday recipe.

So, here’s the process: You chop up some clean spuds and boil them.

The spuds, when they’re done, get mashed and mixed with margarine, almond milk, pesto and chopped walnuts. These themselves would make a lovely side dish. They were tasty but they were also very pretty.

While all this mixing is taking place, a cup of lentils (the recipe said red lentils, but I’m still working through my five pounds of exciting halloween lentils that I bought when they were on sale at Diwali, so guess which ones I used) should be cooking on the stove. After this, zucchini, onions, tomatoes and garlic get sauteed in olive oil. I didn’t think the fresh tomatoes looked that great, so I used canned tomatoes and didn’t add them until the zucchini, onions and garlic cooked a little. When that was done, I mixed the lentils into the vegetables along with some tomato paste and the fu-tagge cheese. This then become the bottom layer of the pie, the replacement layer for the lamb with pies and carrots in gravy. I topped it with the mashed potatoes and all of this went into the oven for 35 minutes.

The farmer’s pie was pretty good. It was super filling, and that is very important. I thought it might taste a little weird because I bought the margarine made with coconut oil, but it wasn’t noticeable. (Or, it at least wasn’t distracting.) The recipe served four which meant that I got a huge bowl and that I always find pleasing. Few things are worse than recipes you slave over and then get a portion that could fit into a thimble. I can definitely see making this recipe again, but never on a weekday unless I decide it up into stages. (Make pesto and cottage cheese quick in the morning (and use the some of the extra pesto on an egg for breakfast!), make the potatoes after dinner and put them in the fridge and then make the lentils and assemble the pie the next day for dinner.) Additionally, this recipe got better with age. I finished the last of it for breakfast this morning and even then I was thinking, “Geezy-pants, this is amazing.”

On a final note, this recipe only used part of the pesto recipe and half of the fu-tagge cheese recipe. So, expect to see it again my version of Chow Vegan’s lasagna cupcakes.

*My friend K pointed out yesterday that perhaps it is a little disingenuous to call vegan shepherd’s pie shepherd’s pie as the distinctive feature of a non-vegan shepherd’s pie is lamb and no lambs were harmed in the making of my pie. We settled on calling it Farmer’s pie.

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