Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vegan Shepard's Pie

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A vegan Shepard's pie sounds like an oxymoron. A traditional Shepard's pie would contain ground lamb. I mean, otherwise, it's not really a Shepard's pie, right? In any event, for my vegan version of a Shepardless pie, I used pearl barley to replace the ground meat and to add texture and bulk to the pie. The result was healthy and flavorful. And it wasn't that hard to make!

For the mashed potato top layer, you'll need:
  • 3 pounds potato (or 5 large Russet potatoes, I used baby potatoes here), peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter substitute
  • 3 tablespoons non-diary cream cheese or sour cream (I used Toffuti sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated soy cheddar
  • salt to taste
 For the bottom layer, you will need:
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
To a large pot, add peeled and diced potatoes. Add enough water to the pot so that the potatoes are completely submerged. Cover. Turn heat up high and bring water to boil. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check the potatoes by piercing them with a sharp knife. If potatoes can be pieced through easily, then they are done. Otherwise, continue to boil and check again in 5 minutes. Repeat until potatoes are done. Drain. While the potatoes are still hot, pass them through a ricer or a food mill. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

To a large pot, add 4 cups water and pearl barley. Cover and bring to boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until pearl barley is cooked. The grain should be edible but should still be chewy. Drain and set aside.

In a medium pot, heat up olive oil. Add diced onion, carrots and celery. Stir and allow to cook until onion becomes translucent, about 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and thyme. Stir for a few minutes. Add soy sauce, vegetable stock, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and cooked pearl barley.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour vegetable and barley mixture into a 3 quart pan. Spread mixture to the edge evenly. Spread mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until top is browned. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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