Vegetarian/easily gluten free. One of those hearty, comforting one-dish meals that’s worth every minute of prep time. If preparing in advance (which works great), store filling and potato topping separately, assembling the pie just prior to baking. The red wine lentil mixture will even freeze well. If storing the whipped sweet potatoes for more than a day, don’t add the egg until you’re ready to assemble the pie.
Lentils (or use 2 cups pre-cooked with a splash of water added)
- 3/4 C dry small green lentils
- 1 3/4 C water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 t salt
- 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1″ (3 to 4 medium)
- 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
- 1 T kosher salt, divided
- 4 T butter (cut into pieces)
- 1 egg (not ice cold)
- 1 T olive or vegetable oil
- 1 small to medium chopped yellow onion (about 1 1/2 C)
- 4 medium to large mushrooms, roughly chopped (about 1 C)
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced (about 1 C)
- 1 1/2 C peeled, diced turnip or winter squash
- 1 T tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 1 C dry red wine
- 1/2 t dried thyme
- 2 t dijon mustard
- Cooked lentils from above (about 2 C)
- 2 T butter
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
- Combine ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside but do not drain.
- Place potatoes and shallot in cold water to cover by a couple inches, in a saucepan, with two teaspoons salt. Bring to boil and cook until very tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Use an immersion blender to puree potatoes, then stir in butter, a teaspoon of salt, and a generous pinch of black pepper. Once the potato mixture has cooled at least 10 minutes, stir in egg.
- Preheat oven to 400 (F).
- Heat oil in a large skillet (with a lid) just hotter than medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, parsnip, squash/turnip and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook another couple minutes. Lots of brown bits will be sticking to the bottom of the pan, which is fine. Add flour and stir until you no longer see white powder. Add wine and thyme, then scrape the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add mustard, lentils, and remaining liquid and simmer uncovered until only a little liquid remains, a minute or two. Remove garlic cloves and stir in butter until melted, then season to taste.
- Place filling in a lightly oiled 9 to 9 1/2″ pie plate. Spoon sweet potato mixture over the top (there will be a lot), spread evenly to the edges, and use the tines of a fork (or back of a spoon) to make ridges or swirls that will brown nicely when baking. Bake about 45 minutes just above middle rack position, until top is darkened in places.
- Let cool a couple minutes before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley, black pepper, and sea salt.
If you can’t find parsnips, feel free to substitute carrots.
Prep time assumes that lentils and sweet potatoes cook at the same time. You can save some time, effort, and dishes by using store-bought, pre-cooked lentils, without much detriment to flavor.
To make the dish gluten free, omit the flour from the lentil filling and reduce wine quantity to 2/3 cup. It will come out just as good, without the gravy-like thickness associated with traditional shepherd’s pie.
- Prep Time: 70 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Entrée
- Cuisine: Vegetarian