So recently, we had friends over for lunch. One of them is vegan, but I only remembered this fact at the last moment, as I was planning the meal, having done the grocery shop. A bit of a fail on my part, as I had planned to make shepherds pie.
But, because I am resourceful, I had a packet of Quorn mince in my freezer, and some vegetarian stock cubes in the pantry, so I didn’t panic too much and decided to just make “shepherds pie” that was suitable.
Because I was feeding the whole family, gluten and dairy free also had to be part of the plan too.
I kind of winged it with this recipe, but it turned out pretty well, so I thought I would share it. The trick with Quorn is that is has no taste of it’s own and it absorbs what you put into it, so if you want to make this dish work, you need to add lots of taste, to give it flavour and make it as authentic as possible, without the flavour that lamb mince adds.
You will need:
Quorn mince (or whatever mince substitute you prefer) 500g
One large onion, finely chopped
One clove of garlic, finely chopped
Gluten free Worcester sauce
One tin of chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped.
150g of frozen peas
A glass of red wine (not for drinking whilst you cook, although I won’t judge if you choose to do that, too) if you like to add wine.
A good stock is hard to find. You can make it, of course, and sometimes I do, but I also like to have ready made to hand, for ease. This stuff is not only suitable for vegans but it is gluten and dairy free too, so it came in very handy for this recipe. This is approx 350mls. You may also need 200ml of water, if the base becomes too dry.
For the potato topping:
1kg of potatoes, peeled, chopped. (I use Maris Piper for this recipe)
Pure spread or whatever butter alternative you use
Soya milk (or if you have a milk alternative you use) 300ml
Gently cook the onion, in a little oil, until it starts to soften, then add the garlic. Add the Quorn mince, and stir through. Then add a dash of Worcester sauce, and stir again. Add the stock, tomatoes and wine. Stir through, and then bring to a low boil, and then turn down to simmer, and allow to simmer away for about 15 minutes.
In the mean time, put the peeled, chopped potatoes in a pan, and boil them, until tender. Drain, and mash with your milk and butter substitutes, and salt and pepper to taste. I will be sharing my “how to make perfect mash” post, soon.
Heat the oven to 200 (180 with fan).
Add the chopped carrots and frozen peas to the cooking Quorn mix, and stir through. Allow to cook for a further five minutes. Then pour into an oven proof dish, and spread it out evenly. You may need to taste it to see if it needs more salt or pepper. Then spread the mashed potatoes on the top and use a fork to texture the top.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, until the potatoes is golden brown and crispy on top. If you aren’t doing dairy free you can add some grated cheese on top, to make it even more crispy.
My vegan friend said it was delicious, so I count this recipe experiment as a success…