Meatless Mondays: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Today we were supposed to be celebrating New Year’s at my brother-in-law’s and bringing a dish. I didn’t buy everything I needed for soup joumou for Haitian Independence Day so we stuck with Vegan Shepherd’s pie from the minimalistbaker.com. I will definitely do a vegan soup joumou in the near future. It came out well, I might have let it bake a little long but I love how crisp the potato crust gets on top. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
FILLING
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (DIYor store-bought)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
MASHED POTATOES
  • 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thoroughly washed
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

  1. Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
  2. Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add add desired amount of vegan butter (2-4 Tbsp), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparable sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close!).
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
  6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
  7. OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
  9. Place on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
  10. Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.

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Birthday Resolutions?

Birthday Resolutions?

Yesterday, my post was a quick note about my birthday. I know some of us treat our birthdays like New Years Day and make resolutions. I think I have been silently doing that most of my life. Sometimes, not so silently.

Even though there are things I declare I want to be free from or actively pursue in my 37th year, I am going to pray for, declare it out loud, write it down, type, quietly ponder about, daydream, meditate, send a message in a bottle Police style the request for patience.

All of the things I want to be free from: extra weight, psoriasis, old psoriasis scars, self-doubt, uncertainty, fibroids, laziness.

All of the things I want to pursue more actively: writing and speaking opportunities, consistent workouts, getting settled in with a church home  I can learn to trust, volunteerism and time with my friends.

All of these things can be accomplished but none of them will happen with any semblance of peace of mind without patience. My spirit, body and mind need to work in one accord to agree that all can be done but nothing will feel right or organic without recognizing it will take time. Not just saying something trite like “Rome wasn’t built in a day or I know I can’t just blink my eyes and it will be all done or God is not a genie.”

I have long needed to divorce myself from the lies, the side deals I strike with myself that sever me from the reality of the hard work, the rejection, the tears, the shrugging off of the “I don’t feel like it right nows.” I have always been able to daydream the results, almost making me feel like I am there without fully embracing the process. I skip over it in my mind except to conjure up a hackneyed 80’s montage of my sweat, hours planted in front of the computer screen and praying in a sea of fictitious people who I will one day call my church family.

I want 37 to be about falling in love with the process even in the moments when I am suspicious it hates me or just taking too long “to get ready.”

I am toasting to all of the hard work that went into 36 and what I will bring to 37 even if patience requires I don’t see the fruit until 38.