Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lentil & vegetable colcannon pie

Lentil vegetable cottage pie has been on our repeat list for some time and this wasn't the first time it has been given a make-over. As I missed out on making a St Patrick's Day type of meal last week plus there was a quarter of a cabbage still left from my recent cabbage meals, I decided to turn my old cottage pie into Lentil Vegetable Colcannon Pie.

It's one of those recipes where the filling always fluctuates depending on what vegies are in the fridge. Last weekend, I picked up a couple of dirt cheap bags of red capsicums and mushrooms, however they do need to be used sooner rather than later. This was the first time red capsicum has been a cottage pie ingredient and I probably wouldn't use it again as it made the filling a bit sweeter than usual. Carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and peas seem to blend in without a problem.

It was quite a while ago that I first tried making colcannon so I did a quick recipe search to refresh my memory. One recipe used a method of boiling a quarter of a cabbage and then chopping it after it was cooked which I liked the sound of so this is what I ended up doing.

The pie turned out to be quite a success! When you play around with beloved recipes sometimes it doesn't turn out favourably however this was an exception. Both man and son liked it better than our standard cottage pie so I will make it this way again next time there is spare cabbage around...

Lentil & vegetable colcannon pie

1/2 cup dried brown lentils (or 1 x 400g tin and skip the first step)
1/4 cabbage
5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 red capsicum, diced (some frozen peas or diced zucchini works better)
5 button mushrooms, diced
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add 1/4 of an unchopped cabbage. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the cabbage has changed colour and softened slightly. Remove with tongs and drain. Chop roughly when cool enough to handle. Add the potatoes to this pot and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Drain.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook until softened. Stir through the garlic for a minute, then mix in the carrot, red capsicum and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally then add the tinned tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf and tomato paste. Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables have softened then stir through the lentils. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Heat the dairy-free margarine in a large saucepan and cook the shallots for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the potatoes and mash thoroughly, drizzling in soy milk slowly until a smooth consistency is achieved. Mix through chopped cabbage, nutritional yeast and season with salt and pepper.

Place the lentil and vegetable mixture in the bottom of a 30cm x 20cm casserole dish and spread evenly. Add the colcannon and smooth it out to the edges so it entirely covers the filling. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the colcannon is starting to brown.

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