It’s all got a bit beyond me, this constant experimenting with new vegetarian recipes. My problem is simple, and probably incomprehensible to most cooks: I get stressed by the various timings.
Let’s say a recipe instructs me to “cover and allow to simmer actively for 8-10 minutes, and meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce”. What almost invariably happens is that I take too long to make the sauce and the [whatever], simmering away with gusto, has thickened down to the point of being glutinous. (No, not gluttonous – that’s moi !)
Multiply this by one, two or three other stages and you have a large, stressed and rapidly becoming enraged cooking person.
OK, so it don’t happen every time; and I have certainly taken to reading any recipe through exhaustively .. but as I’ve generally forgotten the opening sentence by the time I’m half-way through, that doesn’t help enormously. Sighh .. No: senility and increasing grumpiness combine to produce a steamy kitchen !
Here goes for the last recipe I’d never made before.
Pay attention this way, Sue ! :)
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegies mash
prep: 15′ cook: 45′ serves 4
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 red onions, thinly sliced
- 200g puy lentils
- 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 350g peeled and diced carrots
- 350g peeled and diced swede
- 350g peeled and diced potato
- 50g parmigiano, finely grated
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 8 mins until softened.
- Put a kettle on to boil. Stir the lentils, rosemary, stock powder and balsamic vinegar into the onions, pour in 1 litre boiling water, add seasoning, and simmer for 25-30 mins with the occasional stir until the lentils are soft but still have some bite.
- Meanwhile, cook the root veg for 25 mins. (I can only imagine it’s really exciting if you get these two stages to match ..)
- Mash the root veg with a masher. Add seasoning.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lentil mixture into a pie dish, top with the mash, then scatter over the cheese.
- While it’s still hot, grill the pie to melt the cheese
- Serve pie with cooked green veg. My favourite green veg is cabbage, but broccolini passes muster; and you should prepare ’em small. Use one of these
for cabbage, and not only will you shred it wonderfully fine in no time at all, but you will also festoon practically everything around you with little light green bits. Yesss ! :)
Astoundingly, this is REALLY tasty. Well, I think I’m surprised by the lentils part: I expected the bottom of the shepherd’s pie to be fairly bland, but it was extremely flavoursome. Of course, I should’ve said “is”, as there’s enough left over for even the largest and grumpiest of cooking persons to have several more meals out of it. Which is how I eat, basically. And I don’t get bored, either.
So that was it. From now on I shall simply rotate among the plentiful number of recipes I’ve made before and know I like. There are so many of these that already I’ve reached the stage of saying “Oh, I’d forgotten all about haloumi pasta ! Great ! That’s my next dinner !”.