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Rachel Khoo

The Khoo Times

Khoo Times

Daily Edition
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Recipe: Shepherdless pie

Warm your belly with this quick and tasty meat-free version of Shepherd's pie using lentils and creamy polenta.Photo by David Loftus

Shepherd's pie is a quintessentially British dish, enjoyed by families for many generations.

This quick and easy meat-free version uses Puy lentils and creamy polenta - a nice change from the traditionally heavier meat-based dish.

Shepherdless pie

Serves - 4-6 Preparation time - 30 mins Cooking time - 40 minutes



200g dried Puy or beluga lentils, or 1 cup 2 lapsang souchong tea bags 1 litre cold water, or 4 cups 1 tbsp canola, olive or rapeseed oil 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped 10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika 8 mushrooms 2 tbsp tomato puree 2 tsp Marmite or yeast extract sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the creamy polenta topping

800ml vegetable stock, or 3 3/4 cups 1 tbsp fresh tyme leaves 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley 200g instant polenta, or 1 1/2 cups 1 tbsp canola, olive or rapeseed oil


To make the filling: Place the lentils and tea bags in a medium saucepan. Cover with the cold water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Drain the lentils, saving 200ml or 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid and discard the tea bags.

Preheat the grill/broiler to medium-high.

Put the oil into a large frying pan and add the onion, carrot, tomatoes, and paprika. Fry gently for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Add the cooked lentils and the reserved cooking liquid, the tomato puree, and Marmite/yeast extract. Stir until the tomato puree and Marmite/yeast extract have dissolved, then cook for 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cover while making the polenta.

To make the creamy polenta topping: Put the stock and herbs in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the polenta in a slow stream, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir in the oil and remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning.

Pour the lentil filling into a baking dish and spread the hot polenta over the top. Use a fork to make lines in the top; this helps to make it crispier. Place under the grill/broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the top crisps up. Serve immediately.

This recipe is from my new book, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook, you can order your copy here.

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