What would you feed me…Susan?

2015/01/img_61002.jpgI’m so glad that so many of you enjoyed the first post in this series last week, Prudy did a fabulous job, and this week I bring you another great dish from another of my lovely fellow bloggers: Susan from Watch Hatch Fly.

Lovely Susan, another great friend I have made via blogworld; we chat and share so many things, including a great love of our furry babies: our dogs 🙂 I In Susan and her blog, I believe you will find an honest, caring soul, who will bring you great fun and great recipes, interspersed with her tales of her life.

This is what she brought me…

I am thrilled to be a “What Would You Feed Me?” guest poster for Elaine! What an honor! Elaine’s challenge is that the selection be vegetarian, gluten free, healthy and tasty. Done! And if in real life, Elaine were to grace my ACTUAL doorway, HER requirement would be to bring along her precious sidekick, Bob. (She’d be allowed anyone she wants in addition to that, but it would HAVE to include Bob.)

These two—Louie on the left, Kelly on the right—would furnish him with the best playdate ever!

2015/01/img_6224.jpgMeanwhile, you’ll notice in that photo, Kelly is thinking about pub food.

Which is a COINCIDENCE, because that’s what I was thinking too!

Around here, we are experiencing very cold, snowy weather. This always gets me thinking about a nice, cozy pub with a roaring fire and lots of friendly people. Just such a place exists around here, and it’s called The Speckled Hen Pub (http://www.speckledhenpub.com). I mention it because The Speckled Hen Pub usually includes at least two vegan selections on its menu. How cool is that? Very unusual in a pub.

Last time I visited the pub—on a cold, windy December night—I was served the most flavorful, warming, welcoming vegan shepherd’s pie, lentils on the bottom and garlic cauliflower mash on the top. I asked about the preparation, so I could replicate it at home. The secret is fresh sage. Here it is! I hope Elaine feels as warm and welcome about it as I did!

2015/01/img_6228.jpgVegan Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

For the lentil mixture bottom layer:

8 ounces uncooked lentils
One-half cup carrots, chopped
One half of a sweet onion, chopped
One-quarter cup walnuts, chopped and lightly roasted
Four ounces fresh mushrooms (any variety), chopped
One-quarter cup water for cooking onions and mushrooms

For the garlic cauliflower mash topping:

About four nice-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
One head cauliflower, cut into florets
Three cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
One tablespoon olive oil
One-half teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
One tablespoon fresh, snipped sage leaves
One-half cup starch water reserve (optional)

Instructions:

For the lentil mixture bottom layer:

Cook the lentils according to package directions, adding carrots to the last fifteen minutes of cooking so that they are tender when the lentils are fully cooked.
Coarsely chop the walnuts and place them in a small frying pan over medium-high heat in a single layer. Bring the pan and walnuts to heat and then cook until the nuts smoke just a little and brown, about five minutes, shaking the pan a few times.
In another, larger frying pan, place the chopped onions, mushrooms and water. Cook over medium high heat, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms give up their moisture, stirring frequently. Add more water if necessary. (The water will be fully cooked away when the vegetables are done.)
In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked lentils, carrots, walnuts, onions and mushrooms. Set aside.

For the garlic cauliflower mash topping:

Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters and place them into a large pot of boiling water. Cook for ten minutes and then add the cauliflower florets. Cook all for an additional 15 minutes. (Total cook time 25 minutes.)
As the potatoes and cauliflower cook, place the garlic slices into a small pan with about one tablespoon olive oil. Over medium-high heat, cook the garlic until just browned at the edges (about three to five minutes.)
Drain the potatoes/cauliflower, reserving one-half cup of the cooking water. With a large spoon, pull out the cooked potato pieces and place them in a large bowl. Mash them with a potato masher or run them through a ricer. Place the cauliflower into a food processor and blend them until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add the cauliflower to the potatoes and combine.
Season the potato/cauliflower mixture with salt and pepper. Add the reserved starch water if necessary. If you like the consistency after seasoning, then do not add the water.

Assembly:

Into a small, oval casserole dish or an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish, spoon in the lentil mixture, smoothing the layer down into the bottom. On top, place the cauliflower mash, smoothing it over with the back of a spoon.
You may eat it just like that, or you may place it under the broiler, six to eight inches from the heat, until the cauliflower mash browns. Watch it carefully.

I made mine without browning:

2015/01/img_6225.jpgI pulled out a serving so you could see the layers. I did this using a greased biscuit cutter as my form.

2015/01/img_6226.jpgI would serve this with roasted Brussels sprouts. To cook: Toss sprouts (from one stalk or from one 16-ounce bag) in olive oil, salt and pepper along with two tablespoons grainy dijon mustard. Cook in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

2015/01/img_6227.jpgCheers to Elaine!

And don’t forget Bob!

How good does that look??? I sat there reading Susan’s email oohing and aahing so much, my husband wondered what I was reading!!!

Thank you so much, Susan, Bob and I are all packed up and ready for the journey!!!

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39 thoughts on “What would you feed me…Susan?

  1. Sally

    What a warm welcome. Adore those dogs and although I like a meaty Shepherd’s pie I’d dig my spoon in that any day. I often make a lentil version for veggie teen but have never used mushrooms or walnuts – love this riff. What a great concept “feed me’ is.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. chefjulianna

    Wow, well if this is an example of vegan cooking, then I might be able to do it!! This looks awesome Sue! And Elaine, how lucky you are to be presented with such a warm, cozy dish as this! Yum…I am bookmarking to make when I need some healthy comfort food! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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