Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Goats' Cheese Mash
Although I am not a vegetarian, I really love this alternative version to meat, with its diverse combination of dried pulses and fresh vegetables.
It’s also extremely popular with veggie customers in our restaurant at Norwich City Football Club.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 4
You will need to soak and drain the black-eyed beans.
To do this, wash them under cold, running water and discard any broken ones. If it is convenient, soak them overnight in 2 pints (1.2 litres) cold water. If you need them today and haven’t got time to do this, simply bring them up to the boil (using the same quantity of water), boil for 10 minutes and leave them to soak for two hours before draining. Now put the drained beans into a saucepan with the split peas and lentils. Add 1¼ pints (725 ml) boiling water and some salt, cover and simmer gently for 50-60 minutes, or until the pulses have absorbed the water and are soft. Then remove them from the heat and mash them just a little with a large fork.
Now pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and put the potatoes on to steam. Next, roughly chop all the vegetables, pile the whole lot into a food processor and process until chopped small. Next, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the vegetables and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring now and then until they’re softened and tinged gold at the edges.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. Place them in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water on to them. After exactly a minute (or 15-30 seconds, if they are small), remove them (protecting your hands with a cloth if the tomatoes are hot), slip off their skins and slice them or click on our Cookery School Video on this page to watch how to to do it. After that, add the vegetables to the pulses mixture, along with the herbs, spices and salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste. Then spoon the mixture into the baking dish and arrange the tomatoes in overlapping slices on the top. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, place them in a bowl, add the butter, milk and goats’ cheese, whisk to a smooth purée, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper and spread the potato over the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
Finally, sprinkle over the Pecorino and bake the pie on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
If you want to prepare this in advance, it will need about 40 minutes in the oven.