I adapted this from a BBC Good Food recipe (they've some excellent recipes posted online). The sweet potato mash and the addition of red wine really transform this dish from a bog standard shepherd's pie to something you'll want to make again and again.
I had tins upon tins of red kidney beans. I seem to acquire them, probably because they're only about 20c a can, and the cheapest tinned beans I can buy in my local supermarket. So I substituted the green lentils for kidney beans, but will certainly be doing this again, with lentils, to see what the texture is like. So feel free to try either. I didn't add cheese or butter - I used olive oil to keep this dish vegan, and the mash was awesome anyway, so there.
A wee tip - I rarely buy fresh herbs because they're expensive, but when I'm making a special recipe, I chop up the remainder, put them in a mini plastic tub or sandwich bag and freeze them, where they keep well for the next couple of months. I did this with the thyme in this recipe.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large carrots (500g/1lb 2oz in total), cut into sugar-cube size pieces
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
200ml red wine (vegetarian friendly)
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 cans of kidney beans (drained), or 410g green lentils
Sweet potato topping
950g sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, 150ml water and the tomatoes, then sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 mins.
- Add the kidney beans, then cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots still have a bit of bite.
- Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with the olive oil and season to taste. Pile the bean and veg mixture into a lasagne dish, spoon the mash on top, then sprinkle over the remaining thyme. (The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.)
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20-30 mins if cooking straight away, or for 40-50 mins from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through. Serve with green veg (I served it with grilled asparagus) or a salad on the side.
I can't begin to tell you how good this was! It was deliciously rich, with the addition of the red wine. My meat eating family literally licked their plates clean. Job done. My only struggle was trying to take a decent picture of this that didn't look like pie slopped on a plate - besides making adorable mini shepherd's pies for each person, I think its very difficult for an amateur to make a shepherd's pie look as good as this one tasted.
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