I dined recently at a British pub called The Moon Under Water in downtown St Petersburg (if you visit, make sure you get the hokey story of where the name comes from). I had readied my palate for iceberg lettuce or tea - the only vegetarian things I expected to find at a British restaurant - so imagine my surprise when I found that their shepherd's pie was not only meat-free, it was made with soy protein; I highly recommend it.
This inspired me to prepare my own vegetarian shepherd's pie, so here it is in not-so-pie form. You will need:
- An oven-safe soup-friendly bowl; you will be eating the "pie" out of it
- 1/4 cup Morningstar steak strip-style soy protein
- 1/4 cup burger-style soy protein
- 1/2 cup canned or mixed vegetables
- 1 cup mushroom gravy (available in cans)
- 1 potato
- 1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- some milk, oil, butter, red wine
- garlic powder, chopped parsley, black pepper, paprika
Sautee the two "meats" in oil and wine, adding parsley and garlic powder. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the vegetables and mushroom gravy, 1/4 cup of water, stir and let it simmer until it thickens.
Meanwhile, cube and boil the potato in salted water for about 20 minutes or until it's poke-soft. Drain it, remove the skin, add milk, butter, a little parsley, and half the cheese. Mash, cover, and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Pour the thick soy and veggie stew into the oven-safe
(make sure of this!) bowl and let it rest for a minute. Carefully spoon the mashed potato on top of the stew, covering it to the rim of the bowl. Sprinkle some paprika on top. Cover the bowl loosely with tinfoil, making sure it doesn't stick to the mashed potatoes. Using oven mitts
, place the bowl on the center rack and bake for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the stew isn't pouring out of the bowl. Remove from the oven, lose the tinfoil, top the "pie" with the rest of the cheese and more paprika and return to the oven for about 7 minutes or until the cheese melts nicely. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with fresh bread and a spring salad.
Like many stews, this may even benefit from being eaten as a reheated leftover. You could also add facon (bacon-style soy), green beans, or peppers to the stew. (Why would the shepherd be unemployed, you ask? Because she's vegetarian, duh!)