It has been way too long!!! I am super backed up with recipes and photos. Been a busy mama as of late. But my finger is pretty close to all healed up so I can type again and now I have a little time to spare. We are taking a week away before school starts again and the boys’ Grandma is here to help out so I can sit on the patio with a glass of wine from a local winery and get some recipes out to ya!!!
This is a stand alone meal. You really don’t need anything else except for some good wine! It is chock full of veggies and fibre so you can eat a ton of it and not feel overly full and yet very satisfied!!!!
So here is how you do it. Sort of. It was a few weeks ago, but all my personal recipes are very malleable. I make them a little differently each time. So this is probably close to what I did this time based on my terrible memory and my semi decent photos! But trust me it is one my all time favourite meals so give it a whirl! And I have made it about 5 times now so I pretty much know it by heart.
It’s very FALL/WINTER but heck I love it so much I made it on a hot Summer evening and it still went down with aplomb. Come wintertime I shall make a meaty version for you carnivores.
Okay here we go!!!
Lentil Filling: (amounts are totally rough. Depends how much you want to make and how big or small the veggies are!)
- Black or French Puy Lentils (Regular Green ones work fine just aren’t as fabulous!) cooked in salted water til tender but not falling apart (google it) and drained of course!
- Olive oil (for sauteeing)
- 1- 2 onions diced
- Balsamic vinegar (for caramelizing onions)
- 2-4 carrots diced
- Optional: Handful of fresh Italian parsley chopped (the grocery store didn’t have any and I left it out – was totally AOK)
- 1-2 large handfuls of green beans trimmed and chopped into pea sized pieces (I actually used about 2 cups this time and it was a bit too green beany but use as much as you feel like!)
- Optional: 1/2-1 cup walnuts chopped fine but not ground. Basically the same size as ground meat or ground soy protein . (This was the first time adding walnuts and it gave the filling a great texture and extra protein. But definitely don’t need them! Tastes great with or without)
- Garlic – as much you as you can be bothered to chop/mince (4-6 cloves or so)
- 1/2-1 cup strong broth (Veggie, beef or chicken works – I like to use a veggie one that tastes like beef for this. If using bouillon make sure you crumble and incorporate it into boiled water first ) NOTE: basically this gives flavour and also moistens the filling so gauge the amount by how wet or dry the filling is looking. I like to use strong broth for more flavour aka double bouillon to water ratio or cook down stock til reduces by half before measuring the amount. I.e. you want half a cup of broth. Cook down 1 cup of broth til it becomes only half a cup.
- Optional: green peas (Freshly shelled is best but cooked from frozen works too – didn’t use this time but I usually do – throw in when you add the walnuts and garlic)
- Optional: a few stalks or organic celery diced (thrown in when you cook the carrots – again I didn’t do this time but I usually do)
- Balsamic glaze to taste
- Optional: Worchestershire Sauce to taste (leave out if vegan)
- Salt, pepper, whatever herbs you like. Since I put sage in the mash I like to add a little crumbled sage into the filling too. Not alot though it’s pretty potent!
Put olive oil into a large pan on medium heat. Can adjust as you cook.
Sautee onions til getting soft, toss in some balsamic vinegar (tablespoon or so), keep cooking down til getting browned and caramelized. Every time they get dry add a little water or balsamic to sizzle in all the nice brown bits… cook til you think they look nice. I cook mine for a long time. I love them to be super dark and flavourful. Throw cooked onions into a bowl set aside.
Add a little more oil. Toss in carrots and green beans (into same onion pan). Move about in pan til getting some seared edges. But don’t overcook. Toss in garlic and walnuts. Mix about. If you are using peas toss them in now. Pour on your hot broth. Let it steam the veggies and soften the walnuts a bit and cook down. Turn heat down. Throw in the cooked lentils and the onions. Mix to combine. Turn off heat and set aside.
Season to taste with balsamic glaze, Worchestershire, salt, pepper, sage etc… Mix til combined.
Meanwhile back at the ranch….
- 1-2 Sweet potatoes peeled (1 large or 2 small)
- 1-2 Yams peeled
- 2 Russet or 4 Yukon Gold peeled (or Yellow potatoes)
- 2-4 tablespoons whipping cream (to your taste)
- 3 tablespoons – 1/4 cup melted sage butter aka crumbled fresh or dry sage cooked in butter (basically melt butter in a pan, sprinkle in sage and cook til sage is a little browned) amount is to taste. Depends on how buttery you want ’em or how many potatoes you used.
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Himalayan salt to taste (or a bit of smoked salt is nice to match the smokey cheese)
- Shredded cheese (I like to use some smoked gouda, emmenthaler, and jarlsberg to get that smokey/nuttiness) -this time I threw in a bit of leftover truffle cheese – can’t recall the name of it but it was a semi-soft Italian cheese. If it says …. al tartufo you are in business!
Boil or steam potatoes until soft. Mash with butter, cream, sage, seasoning til fluffy and all three kinds of potato are well combined. But don’t over mash because potatoes can get kind of gluey after a while. Spread mash on top of the lentil filling in a baking dish. (I like to make my lentil filling in a large oven safe sauce pan with high sides so I can just top and bake!) Then top with loads of cheese.
Bake in a 350F oven for 25-45 minutes. Depends on how golden you want your cheesey topping. If you just want a nice melt go for less time. If you want an almost frico-like crispy cheese go longer. This pie tastes better and better the longer it cooks and sits so I like to do mine for at least 35 if I can stand waiting that long to eat it. Careful it is super hot when it first comes out of the oven!
Suggested Sauces: (Just use whatever you like!!! I usually use about three different ones at once!)
My personal faves are ***
- HP steak *** of fruity sauce
- Gourmet *** or homemade ketchup
- Balsamic ketchup
- Tonkatsu Sauce ***
- Balsamic Glaze ***
- Sriracha ***
- Chipotle Hot Sauce
- Heinz 57 ***
- Worcestershire sauce