About Me

Here at Sensei Cooks I write about my adventures in the kitchen and sometimes in the dojo.

I have a love for cooking and want to explore all the possible facets of it. Leave no stone unturned so to speak.

I am Vegan and love all types of vegan cooking.

I love the process of cooking. Being in the moment. Sort of Zen and the Art of Cooking.

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Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie Updated

I am re-posting this as I made some changes to the way I make it and love it. This is something I could (and usually do) have once a week. I love the addition of celeriac / celery root to the topping and have eliminated the need for EVOO or soy milk in the topping.

You know how you think you know someone…. Oh wait that’s from Dirty Dancing, one of my all time fave movies. What I meant to say was you think you know what the best recipe in a cookbook is and then you try something quite by accident and Voila! Eureka! I have found it! (Of course she now has a new book in the works I just might have to change this post to say  this was our favourite but now…) I really want to be one of the testers for her new book. If it is like this book, I can make and love every recipe in it. She is talking about having the testing done by January but I know could test all her dishes in a lot shorter time then that. I make at *least* one per day if not two or three. Anyway on with the post.

We found a new favourite vegan dish. I could eat this once or twice a week for a meal and have the leftovers for some breakfasts and lunches. I have always loved Shepherd’s Pie especially as a kid growing up but Belle is not a fan of it at all. Sometimes during our "takeout and frozen food only era" I would buy frozen Shepherd’s Pie and Sean and I would eat it, Hayley would have some but not much and of course Belle would not touch it. She says it is the ground beef ‘feeling/taste’ she doesn’t like, just give her steak instead.

Well I saw this recipe in Vegan Planet and thought, I will make this for myself and make a stir-fry for everyone else cause I know they wouldn’t like it (Sean is away at university). I told Belle and she said well maybe I will like it since it doesn’t have ground beef and Hayley said she would try it. Off we go.

While I was cooking Belle said the aromas were incredible and she was dying to try this. After she tried it she gave me the rest of hers and she had leftovers from the night before. Her complaint? It tasted too much like Shepherd’s Pie! Is that a complaint or a compliment? Hayley says it is her new favourite dish (that along with the vegan lasagna), and like I said earlier, I could eat this every day. I used Robin’s "Mashed Potatoes and Company" recipe for the topping as she suggests and it was fantastic. Of course I made a few changes but I am sure, right out of the book it would be great. I did find the cooking time for the mashed potatoes and company was too short considering the size she asked it to be cut up to but with the aid of an immersion blender I fixed that. The second time I made it I cut everything up a lot smaller (1/2" dice) and it was a lot better and shorter cooking time as well but I still used the blender because I really like that smooth, silky texture to my mashed potatoes.

Try this for yourself and let me know what you think. Start  the mashed potatoes first and while they are boiling prep the filling. Since you are baking the pie, the potatoes do not have to be hot. This is it!

Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie
adapted from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions chopped
2 large carrots grated **
2 cups white mushrooms chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp organic soy sauce (use Gluten Free soy sauce and the meal is GF as well)
1 cup organic vegetable stock
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
3 frozen veggie burgers, thawed and chopped (about 300g)
2/3 cup peas (frozen, canned or fresh)
2/3 cup corn (frozen, canned or fresh)
1/4 cup ground walnuts
3-4 cups mashed potatoes (Mashed Potatoes and Company recipe follows)
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

Mashed Potatoes and Company
adapted from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced **
1 medium yam/sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced or 1 parsnip and 1 1/2 cups diced celeriac root **
8 cloves of garlic, pressed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping:

  1. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and celery root and garlic in a large pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Cook for  20 minutes or until they are soft. (test with a fork)
  3. Drain and place them back into the pot.
  4. Mash the vegetables or use an immersion blender (my choice) and mash/blend until smooth
  5. If they are dry add EVOO or soy milk a little at a time. I never need to add anything. **
  6. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and carrot and cook until tender (10 minutes).
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, stock, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the cornstarch(and water) and simmer about 2 minutes to thicken.
  6. Add the chopped burgers, peas, corn and walnuts, stir to combine and remove from the heat.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Prepare a 2-3 qt baking dish with vegetable spray.
  9. Pour the vegetable mixture into the dish and top with the potato mixture, spreading it to the edges and making it nice and thick.
  10. Top with a sprinkling of paprika and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove and serve.

Ultimate Shepherd's Pie

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2 comments to Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie Updated

  • This sounds good, although I am not much of a fan of the veggie burgers, although I do like Gardenburgers grilled. I think there’s something comforting about shepherd’s pie.

    [Reply]

  • It sounds so good. I like shepherds pie but I can’t eat ground beef! This would be perfect. I’ll have to hide the mushrooms from my (otherwise she eats so well) daughter.

    [Reply]

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