Red Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Potato and Celeriac Mash

nugget lentils-nugget shepherd's pie-Simon Bryant - credit Jacqui Way Photography & dirt(y) incIn celebration of the International Year of Pulses, Simon Bryant (celebrity chef) has kindly provided us with some inspiration on how to cook shepherd’s pie with lentils!

Serves 4

Pie stuff

150 g red lentils soaked overnight in cold water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
100 g button or field mushrooms, diced
25 ml red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
200 g tinned diced tomatoes
2 tsp sea salt
Cracked black pepper
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (about ½ lemon run through a zester)
75 g green beans, cut into 1 cm lengths
Loose handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Some really good tomato sauce, to serve

Mash stuff

375 g celeriac, peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
375 g starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
100 g butter
150 ml milk
½ cup (40 g) grated parmesan
¼ tsp ground mace
2 tsp sea salt
Cracked white pepper

Pie how to

  1. Drain the lentils, discarding the soaking water. Place them in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 5 cm. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook according to packet instructions or until just tender to the bite. (Top up the water if the lentils become too dry during cooking but keep the liquid level at a minimum as you will lose flavour to the cooking water.) Drain the lentils and set them aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the celery, carrot, caraway seeds, rosemary, bay leaves and thyme sprigs; then sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Next add the fresh mushrooms and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to full and deglaze the pan with the vinegar. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add the lemon zest. Add the green beans and cooked lentils with their cooking liquid  and enough extra water  to cover the lentils by about 4 cm.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Check the seasoning and remove the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme. Stir in the chopped parsley.
  6. Pour the lentil mix into four single-serve soufflé dishes/ramekins/oven proof bowls, or one big baking dish if you prefer.

Mash how to

  1. Meanwhile, to make the mash, place the celeriac and potato in a saucepan with plenty of cold salted water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook for 10–15 minutes or until the vegies are tender.
  2. Drain, then return the celeriac and potato to the pan and place over very low heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring periodically to help evaporate any water. For best results, pass the celeriac and potato through a mouli or ricer before mashing them together with the butter and milk. Stir in the parmesan, mace, sea salt and white pepper.
  3. Top the lentil mix with the mash and bake for 15 minutes or so until the topping is golden brown.

Serve with a really good tomato sauce; nothing beats homemade but if you’re time-poor then grab one at a local farmers market as there’s usually a bit of love in them!

This recipe was kindly provided by Simon Bryant and the image is by Jacqui Way Photography.