Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not a Weeknight Dish

...but oh, so good if you've got the time and inclination on a weekend.  And it will feed you a few times during the week, which makes it even better.

I've been thinking more and more about trying to use less and less meat in our meals. During the summer, this is easy.  During the winter, though, I make a ton of stews and braises.  The oven helps warm the house (we don't have active heat in our kitchen...) and makes it smell amazing.  But I do want to fit out the door once winter is over, so less meat it needs to be (because let's be frank: you know I'm not really exercising much right now).

If I'm going to make meals with less or no meat, though, I still want them to be warming and hearty.  It's a balmy 35 degrees today, and caprese salad ain't gonna cut it.  So I went through the root vegetables we still have from our CSA share, and built a vegetarian shepherd's pie.  If you omit the butter and use olive oil and leave off the sprinkling of cheese, it's vegan. 

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
by Me

For "interior" of pie:
Roasted veggies:
1 buttercup or acorn or 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1" shapes (I don't cube carrots, because...
                       they're round; why waste the edges just so they're cubes?)
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1" shapes
1 large onion, peeled, root left intact but cleaned, and cut into 8ths--each piece should
                       have a piece of root so it stays together
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into 1" shapes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" shapes
1 tsp dried thyme (could add more to taste)
1 tsp fresh chopped marjoram (could use rosemary instead)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Sauteed veggies and gravy:
1 tbsp olive oil

8 oz cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered
1 leek, halved and then sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

For topper:
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1" shapes
1 apple, peeled and quartered
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all of the roasted veggie ingredients in a large bowl, and toss until well combined (be careful not to break apart the onions).  Turn out onto two large baking sheets and roast, one on top rack, one on bottom rack, for 15 minutes.  Stir, switch racks, and roast another 15 minutes.  Vegetables should be just tender.  Put back into large bowl; set aside.

Cover potatoes and rutabaga with water, bring to a boil, and cook until almost tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the apple, cook until everything is tender; about another 5 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  Add 1/2 c vegetable broth, butter, salt and pepper and mash until desired consistency.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high.  Add mushrooms and cook until browned all over.  Reduce heat to medium and add leeks; cook, stirring often, until leeks begin to soften.  Add cabbage, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook until cabbage releases liquid and pan is almost dry, about 10 minutes.  Add to bowl with roasted vegetables, mix to combine.

In same skillet, melt butter, sprinkle in flour, and whisk til smooth, about one minute.  Whisk in 1 1/2 c broth, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.  Lower heat, stir in parsley and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. 

Assembly:  Oil a 13 x 9 baking dish and pour in mixed vegetables.  Pour gravy over.  Smooth mashed vegetables on top, sprinkle with cheese.  Bake on top rack of oven for 30-40 minutes until some of gravy bubbles up around the topping. You might want to put a sheet pan under the baking dish to catch spills.  Just saying.


Missie said...

On the contrary, I would say that all of the snow shoveling is a lot of excercise! And not to gloat, but I got to play tennis outside today. Just sayin'. :)

The dish sounds amazing, and like a whole lotta peelin' and chopping. Even for the unemployed, not a weeknight dish. :)

Christine said...

Yup, it's a whole lotta peelin' and choppin'. But once that's all done it's easy! :) Put those kids to work--they must sell peelers they can use safely!

Nicki said...

Ok, I was hungry when I started reading this. After reading every recipe posted, and looking at the pictures, I have now drooled all over my comforter. I am also starving. :)

Nicki said...

Oh yeah, I've been doing the less meat thing too. I feel AMAZING! I put on 10lbs while I was doing my TA (even mom noticed). I felt yuck. Just by eating veggies, and not near as much processed food, I've lost the 10lbs in 2.5 weeks. I haven't been exercising either (other than walking Rio and Saturday races).