Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On My Hearth: Isa's Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie

I don't know about you, but to me Shepherd's Pie is the epitome of comfort food, especially on a chilly autumn evening.  I've had many a version, from the "real" thing back in my omnivorous days, to several versions made with faux beef. However, I've never tried a legume-based recipe.  This one from Isa Chandra Moskowitz (of Post Punk Kitchen fame) looked amazing, combining the meatiness of lentils with the earthy mushrooms. The fact that it's "light" in calories/fat but high in protein & fiber is an added bonus.

As Isa suggests, I served mine over her Caulipots but you could also use traditional mashed potatoes, quinoa, cous cous, or even a baked potato. The possibilities are endless!

Take my advice, don't stop with this recipe from Appetite for Reduction. I've tried several others, each one more delicious than the last! I'll be posting more recipes and reviews in the future but you'll probably want to buy your own copy so you don't miss a single tasty dish. 
                    Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie

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  2          teaspoons  olive oil
  1                     onion -- chopped finely
  4             ounces  shiitake mushrooms -- chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  1                     zucchini -- diced small (1 1/2 cups
  3             cloves  garlic -- minced
     1/2      teaspoon  dried tarragon
  2          teaspoons  dried thyme
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
                        Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
  1                cup  carrots -- peeled and diced small
     3/4           cup  du Puy lentils (aka French lentils) -- rinsed
  3               cups  vegetable broth
  1         tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
     1/2           cup  frozen peas

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 mins. Add the shiitakes, zucchini, garlic, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper; saute for 5 more mins.

Add the carrots, lentils, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 mins, stirring occasionally. By this point, the lentils should be tender and most of the broth should be absorbed. If it's not, then just let it simmer for longer and check on it. (Mine took about 15 mins longer than this.) Conversely, if the broth has evaporated and the lentils are soft, then add a bit of water and simmer for a bit longer.

Once the lentils are soft, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and peas. (I added 1 c. of peas instead of the 1/2.) Let sit for 10 mins or so for maximum flavor. Taste for salt.

To serve: Scoop a cup of Caulipots (recipe below) into a bowl and serve a cupful of lentils over it.

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Makes 4 Servings; Per Serving: 210 Calories; 2g Fat; 11g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 440mg Sodium.  


                 Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots)

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  2                     russet potatoes -- cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 lbs)
     1/2          head  cauliflower -- cut into florets (1 lb, or about 3 cups)
  1         tablespoon  olive oil
  2        tablespoons  vegetable broth -- (2 to 4)
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
                        Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making sure there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the cauliflower. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 mins, until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato smasher to mash them a bit.  Add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of broth, the seasonings and mix well. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons of broth. Taste for salt. Serve warm..

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Makes 4 Servings; Per Serving: 190 Calories; 3.5g Fat; 6 g Protein; 37g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 370mg Sodium.  




  1. Great recipe! I have her book too, and whipped this up in no time. Comfort food at its best. Reposted this- included your link. Thanks!