Thursday, November 21, 2013

Superstar Shepherd's Pie

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, it's been a busy week! I've been spending every waking moment devoting myself to writing the application for the job that's the closest thing there is to my childhood dream. I'm conquering my fear of failure and channeling Randy Pausch. I feel like I'm working as furiously as a fall finals week at CMU. This has all consequently left me with a strange desire for the terrible Snack Well's cookies that were available from the vending machines in the basement of Wean Hall. If you went to CMU and studied in the engineering library (the one where you were kicked out for having food & they came to investigate wrapper sounds) you know exactly what I'm talking about... Don't worry, I'm not trying to recreate that recipe!

There's been a lot of talk of healthy shepherd's pies lately. And why not? It's a gluten free dish that really satisfies and is comprised of all kinds of fall treasures. I made this a month back and really liked it, but have been waiting to share it because I was hoping I'd be able to simplify. This version is pretty labor intensive (i.e. it involves lots of pots which then all have to be washed) but it's worth it! My shepherd's pie uses sweet potatoes and lentils with mixed vegetables on the inside and an herbed combination of mashed cauliflower and potatoes for the topping. Sweet potatoes and cauliflower pack a powerful nutritional punch, with both being rich in vitamins and minerals. Additionally, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, so like kale, it seems to be protective against cancer.

Superstar Shepherd's Pie

5 white potatoes, peeled, diced, and boiled
1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced, and boiled
1 bag of frozen cauliflower
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
2c cooked green lentils
1c vegetable broth (can be made from bouillon)
1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
garlic, black pepper, and parsley to taste

1. Peel sweet potato, dice, and add to a pot of boiling water to cook until tender (~30 minutes). (Start with the sweet potato, as it will take longer than the regular potatoes.
2. Peel white potatoes, dice, and add to a pot of boiling water to cook until tender (~15- 20 minutes).
3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
4. Add bag of cauliflower to a large microwavable bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes or until tender.
5. Once the white potatoes are cooked, drain. Take about 2/3 of the potatoes and transfer them to the food processor with the cauliflower, spices, and bouillon cube. Food process until smooth but don't over-process. While food processing potatoes (to achieve mashed potatoes) can be dangerous (i.e. they become soup) the cauliflower will keep this mixture more substantial.
6. Drain sweet potatoes. Transfer to a bowl with the frozen mixed vegetables, lentils, and remaining potatoes. Add spices to taste.
7. Transfer vegetable mixture to a greased 9 x 13 pan. Pour 1c vegetable broth evenly over the top. Coat the entire mixture with your cauliflower/ potato mixture.
8. Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until your vegetables are tender. Enjoy!

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