Mushroom & Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients -

Soaking & Boiling Lentils:
(1½) Cups of Green Lentils
(½) Tsp. of Pink Himalayan Salt, freshly ground
Warm water

Mushroom Broth:
(1) Cremini Mushrooms, minced
(1) Cup of Water, boiled

Mushroom & Lentils:

(1) Tbsp. of Olive Oil
(4) Large Cloves of Garlic, minced 
(1) Cup of Red Onions, minced
(1) Cup of Carrots, minced
(¾) Cup of Fresh Green Peas, if you’re using frozen peas, please thaw
(1) Cup of Cremini Mushrooms, minced (leftover from making the mushroom broth)
(¾) Cup of Ground Soy, by Yves
(1) Cup of Mushroom Broth
(1½) Tsp. of Pink Himalayan Salt, freshly ground
(1½) Cups of Green Lentils, soaked overnight & pressure-cooked
(2) Tbsp. of Thyme
(½) Cayenne Pepper, for a spicier flavour, add an additional ½ tsp. 
(4) Tbsp. of Red Wine Tomato Sauce, by Classico

Grilled Mushrooms:
(¼) Tsp. of Olive Oil
(1) Cup of Cremini Mushrooms, sliced 
(¼) Tsp. of Cracked Black Pepper, freshly ground

Mashed Potatoes:
(3) Large sized Russet Potatoes, boiled & mashed
(½) Cup of Unsalted Butter, melted until golden brown
(1) Tsp. of Pink Himalayan Salt, freshly ground
(¾) Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
(3) Springs of Thyme

Garnish:

(3) Springs of Thyme, cut each spring into 3 parts

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Directions -

Soaked & Boiled Lentils:
Soaking….
Add the green lentils in a medium sized bowl and rinse approximately 3-4 times, until the water runs clear. After your last rinse, soak your lentils overnight in warm water. Ensure you have enough water that it is approximately an inch above the surface of the lentils. 

Boiling….
Drain the leftover water from the bowl of soaking lentils from the night before and give them a quick rinse under warm water. Add your pre-soaked lentils to a pressure cooker and pour enough water that there is approximately 1 inch of water above the surface of the lentils. Add your pink Himalayan salt and allow the lentils to pressure-cook for approximately 20 minutes. Adding the salt whilst the lentils are cooking will help bring out the natural flavour of the lentils. Turn the stove off and wait for the pressure cooker to release all the steam before you open it. Lastly, drain the excess water out from the lentils. 

Mushroom Broth:

Place the minced cremini mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Allow the minced mushrooms to steep in hot water for approximately 30 minutes; this will allow the mushrooms to thoroughly release their flavour. Once you’ve hit the 30-minute mark, use a strainer to strain out the mushrooms from the hot water. 
& Voilà – your mushroom broth is ready!

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Mushroom & Lentils:

Place a large saucepan over high heat; once the pan has heated up, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the garlic into the pan and allow it to fry for a minute or two. Then, add the onions to the pan and fry them off for 3-5 minutes until the onions turn a golden brown. At this point, add in the carrots and allow them to fry for 2-3 minutes. Now, add in the green peas, ground soy, green lentils, half a cup of mushroom broth and pink Himalayan salt. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and allow the mixture to simmer over medium heat. Once you notice that the mushroom broth has been soaked up for the most part, add the red wine tomato sauce, cayenne pepper and the other half of the mushroom broth. Mix everything together and allow the mixture to simmer over medium heat. Once you notice that the mushroom broth has soaked up by the lentil mixture by approximately 75%, turn the stove off but, leave the saucepan on to keep it warm. 

Grilled Mushrooms:

Place a grilling pain over high heat; once the pan has heated up, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the sliced cremini mushrooms to the pan and allow them to cook off until they are lightly charred. Sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper; give it a good mix and scoop out the grilled mushrooms from the pan. 

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Mashed Potatoes:

Peel 3 large russet potatoes, chop them into large chunks and boil them in a pressure cooker on high heat. The potatoes should take approximately 15 minutes to cook. Turn the stove off and allow the pressure cooker to release all the steam before you open it. Drain all the excess water. Then, using a sieve, sieve small portions of the boiled potatoes into a mixing bowl. Using a sieve instead of a potato masher will give your mashed potatoes a smoother texture. Continue this process until you have sieved through all the boiled potatoes. 

In a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over high heat. While the butter is melting, add your pink Himalayan salt. (You definitely could use salted butter – I chose not to because this allows you to control the amount of salt you wish to add to your mashed potatoes, making them more or less salty, per your preference). Once the butter has thoroughly heated, you will notice it turning slightly golden brown – that is the colour you are aiming for. Once your butter has browned, pour the melted butter over your mashed potatoes and mix well. 

Using the same saucepan you melted the butter in, add your heavy whipping cream and thyme springs and bring to a boil. Once the whipping cream has come to a boil, remove the thyme springs using a fork and set aside. Pour in the heated whipping cream in small parts and combine thoroughly. Continue this until you have thoroughly combined all the whipping cream to the mashed potatoes. 

Baking The Shepherd’s Pie:
Preheat your oven to 450°C.

(You can bake individual portions in small ramekins or in a large pie dish – I went the ramekin route)

Fill ¾ of each ramekin with the lentil mixture. Then, add a thin layer of the grilled mushrooms, followed by filling the remaining space with the mashed potatoes. Lastly, garnish with a small spring of thyme. Follow the same steps until you have filled all your ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking tray and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the Shepherd’s Pies have fully baked, bring them out of the oven and SERVE! 

*Be careful, they’re hot*

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