Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Festival Recipe Exchange - Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Fall Festival

Until I saw all the delicious recipes showing up in my Google Reader this afternoon, I completely forgot that today is the 2nd Annual Fall Festival Recipe Exchange, hosted by My Friend Amy


So, because I'm obviously unprepared, I'm going to resort to sharing a recipe for Shepherd's Pie that I've already published on this blog ... but since it was back on December 19, 2008 when I had been blogging all of four months and had maybe four readers, chances are it is new to you.  There's also a good chance that it will make its way onto our menu soon, because I've had a craving for this over the past week or so.

Shepherd's Pie is one of my favorite fall comfort foods, but since we're vegetarian, I don't make it in the traditional way with ground beef.  It was just fine with the vegetarian ground beef.  The recipe below is based on this one from Rachael Ray.


2 pounds small yellow-fleshed potatoes, halved (I was lazy and used instant.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces cremini mushroom slices (none at the farm ... I used regular white button mushrooms instead)
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used a handful or two of baby carrots)
2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 pound 93-percent lean ground beef (I used Boca Burger vegetarian ground beef)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth (I used vegetable broth)
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I used 1/2 c. of leftover marinara sauce)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup 2-percent milk
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach (I used half a bag of frozen cut spinach)

1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot; cover. (Because I was using the instant mashed potatoes, I skipped this step.)

2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Arrange in a greased 9-by- 13-inch baking dish in an even layer. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, parsnips and onion and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the beef and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour.

Add the beef broth and tomatoes and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the meat mixture over the mushrooms. Reserve the skillet.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°. Add the milk to the potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper. (This was where I improvised and made the instant mashed potatoes. And then I remembered that there was some leftover corn in the fridge from Taco Night, so I dumped the corn on top of the mixture too. If you haven't figured it out yet, this is an easily-adaptable dish. )

In the reserved skillet, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, turning, until wilted, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander; press to extract any liquid. (I microwaved our frozen spinach. Turned out great!)

Arrange the spinach over the meat mixture, then spoon the potatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

I thought this was delicious. It provided that comfort-food goodness that I was craving, but in a healthier version. Rachael Ray's version doesn't give the cholesterol counts, but if you follow her directions instead of my variations, a serving is 311 calories, there's 7g. of fat, and 2 g. of saturated fat. The Husband also liked this, but said he could do with fewer vegetables. (He suggested eliminating the parsnips. I think this might be because I told him they were included.)

I think that this could be made ahead of time and just put into the oven. If I make this again (which I am inclined to do), and if it is on a weeknight, I will likely try it that way. 

For more details on how you can participate in the Fall Festival Recipe Exchange or to check out the other recipes, click here



Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Rachel Ray recipes are usually fool proof! This looks great -- and when you can "hide" the veggies with potatoes, it's always a plus for the kids.

Chrisbookarama said...

Ha! My husband doesn't like parsnips either. This sounds nice and healthy.

Kate said...

I had a bad shepherd's pie experience once... and this looks like it would be good! A step in the right direction! You may have broken through the barrier!

I linked this over at Kate's Library as part of my Friday Five.