Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shephard's Pie with Chard-Lentil Filling

Better than the original? Quite possibly. Especially if you've been making yours with that bag of frozen mixed veggies....

Shepherd’s Pie with Chard-Lentil Filling

Wine Braised Lentils
1 T vegetable oil
½ cup onion, diced
¼ cup carrot, peeled and diced
1 spig fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
½ cup lentils, rinsed – pref green
2 T red wine
¾ cup water
¼ - ½ tsp salt

In a small sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrot, and thyme. Cook fofr about 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the lentils and stir to coat. Add the red wine and bring to a lively simmer. The wine will reduce a bit. Add ¾ cup of water, return to lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover and cook until fork tender, about 40 minutes. Check and add a little extra water if need be, to keep lentils from drying out completely. Stir in ¼ tsp of the salt, taste and add remaining salt if needed.

Meanwhile start the potatoes –

2 lbs medium potatoes – pref Yukon Gold, washed or peeled, quartered
2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
3 T olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Fill medium saucepan with 4 cups water, add potatoes and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the whole garlic. Return the lid and cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F, grease super deep pie pan.

With a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes and garlic to a large bowl (DON’T DUMP THE WATER!!) and mash with hand mixer. Stir in reserved cooking water as necessary to moisten potatoes. Add 3 T oil and stir in vigorously. Taste for salt, pepper and adjust. Potatoes should be smooth and well seasonsed.

Meanwhile start the chard

2T olive oil
3 to 4 cups chard, washed, stemmed and ribboned (or spinach)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
¼ freshly grated nutmeg

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes, regularly tossing with tongs. Stir in the nutmeg and season with more salt to taste, if needed.

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Stir in lentils and transfer mixture to greased pie plate. Top with potatoes, sprinkle cheese all over top. Bake for 20- 25 minutes. During final 2 minutes turn on broiler to brown the top.

While baking make the onion gravy

3 T butter
2 cups onions, sliced thinly into half-moons
1 -2 spigs fresh thyme
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 cups water
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 1 T water
½ tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp soy sauce

In a deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions and thyme. With tongs, toss to coat the onions with the butter and cook over medium-low heat, until softened, reduced and jam-like, about 25 minutes.

Add the vinegar, stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the water and bring to a lively simmer. Reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes; the gravy will continue to reduce. Stir in the salt, sugar, and taste. Finish off with the soy sauce. Turn off the heat, cover and gently reheat at a simmer just before serving with the pie.

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