This healthful and flavorful Shepherd’s Pie defies tradition by forgoing the usual ground or minced meat, and uses portabella mushrooms instead. This version also leaves out the butter and milk, but leaves in the mashed potatoes, carrots and peas!
- Mashed Potatoes:
- 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 5 medium-large), peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1-2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk or cooking water as needed for mixing
- Vegetable filling:
- 2 large portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces (about 4 cups)
- 1 medium onion chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2-3 medium carrots, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2-3 teaspoons)
- 1½ cups water
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme (or1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 cups green peas
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- In a soup pot on high heat, add the chunked potatoes with enough water to cover. Stir in the granulated onion and garlic, and bring to a boil uncovered, cooking until tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a large frying pan on medium-high heat, add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery, and cook while stirring for about 3 to 5 minutes, adding the garlic during the last minute (and adding water as needed to keep things from sticking).
- Add to the frying pan, the 1½ cups water, tomato paste, thyme, and paprika. Stir and cover. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the peas. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set out a 13x9-inch baking dish.
- When the boiling potatoes are tender, drain off the cooking water into a bowl (or use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes), and transfer the potatoes to a separate mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer (or potato masher), gradually pour in the 1 to 2 cups of nondairy milk (or cooking water, or a mix) until your desired consistency is reached and the potatoes are smooth.
- Stir 1 cup of the mashed potatoes into the vegetable filling in the frying pan. Pour the filling into the baking dish and spread evenly. (The filling at this point should not be watery, but like a thick stew. If there is extra liquid, just spoon some out.)
- Add the remaining mashed potatoes to the top and spread evenly. Create some texture in the potatoes using a large serving fork or other utensil (you can get creative here).
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned on the high spots (or see Notes). Let cool for 10 minutes before serving (it will thicken as it cools). Season with black pepper to taste.
Also try adding cooked green beans and/or corn in step 3.
For a smoky flavor, use ½-1 teaspoon smoked paprika in place of regular.
Sage is also a great fresh or dried herb to use in this dish instead of or in addition to fresh thyme.
If you want to make this in a standard or deep-dish pie pan instead, halve the recipe. (If your dish is pretty full, you may want to bake it on a baking sheet, so no filling boils over onto your oven.)
If your mashed potatoes are not sufficiently browned after baking, bake for 1-3 minutes on broil (but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn, which can happen quickly).
Above: Here is a visual for the chopped vegetables. You want them pretty small, especially the carrots, as these take the longest to cook.
Top left: Adding about 1 cup of mashed potatoes to the frying pan of cooked vegetables. Right: Spreading the mashed potatoes over the filling (see how the filling isn’t too soupy? If it has too much liquid, it will make the potatoes harder to spread).
Create some texture on the top of the potatoes before baking. Here I used a soup spoon to create cloudy swirls.
Here I used a large serving fork, first going across one direction, then another.
The finished top of the Shepherd’s Pie, nicely browned. Yum!
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