Nothing screams comfort food to me like shepherd’s pie. Typically a meat pie with a milk- and butter-laced mashed potato topping, I’ve given it a bit of a makeover here. I’ve nixed the meat, the milk and the butter. We’re left with a whack of vegetables in a yummy gluten-free gravy, all topped with some amped-up mashed potatoes. Maybe we should call it a shepherd-less pie.
As a side note, the mashed potatoes are great on their own, especially if you have suspicious sorts in your family who wouldn’t touch a bean with a 10-foot fork.
You have a few options for assembling your shepherd’s pie. Use a large casserole dish, as I have here, or individual ramekins. I like to serve this dish in small ramekins on Christmas Eve. Rather than simply spreading your mashed potatoes on top, pop them into a piping bag and, using a large piping tip, pipe two blobs of potatoes, one on top of each other, onto the veggie mixture. Use two little peppercorns for eyes, two sprigs of thyme for arms and, hello, Frosty! I don’t recommend placing Frosty under the broiler, though. The sizzled look just might give your family nightmares.
For the mashed potatoes:
About 2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1- to 2- inch pieces
1 clove garlic, quartered
1-540 ml (19 oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
50 ml (1/4 cup) non-dairy milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the gravy:
425 ml (1 ¾ cup) vegetable stock
45 ml (3 tablespoons) nutritional yeast
15 ml (1 tablespoon) gluten-free flour
15 ml (1 tablespoon) tamari
For the veggie layer:
30 ml (2 tablespoons) coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large carrots, thinly sliced
750 ml (3 cups) finely chopped turnip
14-16 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
5 ml (1 teaspoon) thyme
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) sea salt
1.25 ml (1/4 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
For the mashed potatoes, pop potatoes and garlic into a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, process beans and milk in a food processor or blender until smooth. When potatoes are tender, drain and give them a quick mash. Add bean mixture, mix well, and season to taste. Set aside.
For the gravy, whisk together vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, flour and tamari in a small bowl. Set aside.
For the veggie mixture, melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, carrots and turnip and continue to cook until onions are brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, sea salt and pepper and continue cooking until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in gravy, and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the gravy has thickened slightly.
Pour the veggie mixture into an 11x7 casserole dish (or similar size) and top with the mashed potatoes. If desired, place under the broiler for a minute or two, until potatoes are golden.