Wednesday, March 14, 2012

cottage pie

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a friend of ours started a st patty's day tradition way back in the day; every year he cooks up a traditional corned beef dinner and invites his buddy's over to celebrate with a few Irish lagers

as we all know life happens- this friend of ours found an amazing girl, fell in love and moved in
the tradition was set aside but not forgotten; i was just saying to Justin how i missed the traditional st patty's day dinner when i received a message from our friend - the dinner is back on this year

i cannot tell you how super excited i was  - i mean so excited that i committed to the dinner even before asking Justin if we had plans....well regardless, i had my plan -
i was heading to celebrate the holiday with or without him

this friend of ours is super sweet - he knows that we are vegan/vegetarian, the first thing he wanted to know is what he could cook for us. i know how much work he puts into the dinner so i volunteered to bring a few dishes to share. he loves to cook and explore different ways of cooking so i am sure he will have something fabulous for us all well.

one of my contribution's to the st patty's day potluck will be this very cottage pie
cottage pie is a traditional Irish dish made of lamb & potatoes;
in England it is made with beef and called Shepard's pie.

 let me share with you my version of cottage pie

lentils create the "meaty" texture along with portobellas
parsnips, carrots, red onion, kale & rosemary for taste & texture
and of course perfectly seasoned mashed potatoes top it off
all the ingredients - minus the potatoes are simmered in veggie broth with a bit of salt

once the lentils have softened, mini ramekins are filled and topped with mashed potatoes
then baked until the tips & edges of  the potato begin to turn golden brown

this was a dish that i needed to test before serving to a crowd, it needed Justin's final approval
i wasn't sure what he would think; i thought the final dish was perfect...with the exception of the lentils being a bit al dente - but that is an easy fix, i simply adjusted the cooking times 

the smell was intoxicating; i simply love fresh rosemary
while making this dish i decided that rosemary is an absolute must in the garden this year

i was quite surprised when Justin gave two thumbs up, the dish was a winner - after 8 years you would think i would be able guess what his rating will be; nope, he surprises me every time
for the st patty's day potluck i plan on preparing this in a large baker or a crock pot
along with a side of Irish soda bread and we are on our way to a pretty tasty vegan dinner
Cottage Pie
makes 6 ramekins or 1 medium baker/casserole

you will need:
1 cup dried lentils - rinsed
2 tsp fresh rosemary woody stems removed - minced
1 medium carrot cut into rounds
1 large parsnip - large dice
1/2 cup red onion - medium dice
1 portobella sliced and cubed
1 cup kale - stem removed and torn
1 tsp olive or cooking oil
4 cups veggie broth
4 potatoes peeled & washed
1 tsp salt - divided (1/2 tsp for lentils & 1/2 tsp for potatoes)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 vegan creamer or vegan milk
1 tbsp vegan butter

wash & prep all veggies
peel potatoes and boil until fork tender
while the potatoes are boiling, in a large saute pan fitted with a cover add lentils through olive oil - over medium/high heat saute until onion begins to soften and rosemary is fragrant - add veggie broth & cover. Reduce heat to low & simmer for 20 -25 minutes until lentils are soft.

Pre heat oven to 350*
Drain potatoes and mash to desired consistency adding in salt through butter

place 6 ramekins on a rimmed sheet pan if using
fill each ramekin to the top with the lentil mixture and cover with mashed potatoes
if using a baker - place lentil mixture in bake and top with mashed potatoes

bake in for 15 minutes or until the tips and edges of potatoes turn golden

remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes prior to serving - garnish with sprigs of rosemary if desired




  1. Mmm, love me some cottage (or shepards) pie! What a good idea for St. Patty's.

    I'm jealous of your friend's St. Patty's traditon (even if it did fall by the way-side for a bit) - I need more friends with a tradition of inviting me over and feeding me wonderful food and beer! ;)

    1. If only you live closer Willow you could totally be a party crasher!

      I bet you are the friend that invites everyone over to YOUR house for good beer and food :)

  2. oh my goodness, this looks absolutely amazing! i am making this FOR SURE. what a fantastic dish to celebrate st. patty's day!

    1. That means a lot coming from you who has a SERIOUS Irish Background- "you are not white, you are IRISH" - that still makes me smile when I think of your Dad tellig you this :)

  3. What a nice dinner guest you are! I've had Shepherd's pie a couple of times when I was younger, but I never looked forward to it (I wasn't a fan of the meaty filling). I much prefer the sounds of your lentil and veggie filling and I'm sure everyone at the potluck will be impressed :)

    1. I hope they will be impressed, however it is a tough crowd - they are a totally meat and potatoes type people with the exception of the Host, Matt....his love is a hardcore meat eater, so it should be interesting - at least I won't go hungry!

  4. Relationships. Pshesh. They always ruin everything, don't they? Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right...
    But what does look right are these cottage pies :) {you like the tie-in?} You wouldn't happen to be Irish along with Caitlin and myself, now would you?

    1. Seriously...but she does work at Coach and gets a killer discount,all relationships have some sort of a benefit :)

      I would be a 1/4 Irish - the rest French Canadian :) My Irish Catholic Grandmother Married a French Catholic- she was oh so scandalous

  5. i would eat the nice browned up mashed tato tops and and then pass on the lentil mix to hubbs.. ;) and if he is with a bunch of people at a party.. he would be yapping away or having a serious discussion and will eat anything that i hand him.. including a topless pie!
    love those cute ramekins! i love the lentil and shroom filling too.. just not as much as some browned up mashed potatoes:)

    1. You are too funny Richa!

      Browned up mashed taters are pretty tough competition...but the lentils are pretty fabulous too!

  6. It sounds like a really fun event--and your version of cottage pie looks delectable!

    1. Thank you- the event is a ton of fun, it doesn't get much better than good friends and great food all in one place!

  7. That all looks fab! I wasn't planning to make anything special for St. Paddy's day, but maybe I should make THIS!

    1. I hope you do and if you do, let me know how yours came out!

  8. This looks ah-ma-zing! :) *hehe* I love pot pies and cottage (shepherd's) pies. Love your version!

    I also love the idea of having a huge St.Patty's Day dinner!!! What other foods are served at a St.Patty's Day party? We need to have a virtual dinner party one day! *hehe*

    Beautiful photos too. Love the colours and the composition :)

    1. You are so stinkin' cute; I love the idea of a virtual Dinner Party - that sounds like so much fun!

  9. Your presentation looks so wonderful - festive and I just love it!!!
    And have fun with your amazing sounding dinner :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. What great news for you! I wish my friends and I had traditions like that. Well, we kind of do on Christmas. But we meet at a truck stop restaurant at midnight and I can't eat a single thing on the menu. Anyway! My boyfriend is making a cottage pie for me this weekend.. I'm going to make him use your recipe :) Cannot wait to try it!

    PS - what kind of camera do you use? Your photos are vibrant and gorgeous.

    1. What a fun tradition! Before going Vegan there was this awesome truckstop by by Sisters College in Maine - so awesome I even bought one of their T-Shirts; they had the best breakfast and Homemade Bread, oh Dysarts how I miss you so :)

      I have a Sony DSC-HX100V - one day I ill have a DSLR, but i do love the Manual Control on my Sony....if only there was a way to add a 50mm lens- thank you for the compliment on the photos, it is nice to hear that I am improving!

      Enjoy that Cottage Pie this weekend too :)

  11. What a lovely dish! Looks so cosy and warming.. which is what I'm craving today after a freak blizzard this morning! Great photography!

    1. Thank you! This is definitely the perfect meal for wintertime, the rosemary fills your home with the best aroma; thankfully we are passed the blizzard season here and heading into spring :)

      I am looking forward to making the raw brownie bites you posted the other day!

  12. Such gorgeous photographs! You're making me feel quite hungry! I love this recipe!

    1. Hi Vicky!

      Thanks for stopping by for a visit and for the sweet comment :)

  13. Oh my gosh, so good. Just got done eating my rendition of the dish. I used some turnips in the mash potato part. It was just wonderful. However, did yours turn out as watery as mine?

    I love the combination of Rosemary and Parsnip. They compliment each other very well. Plus the nutty taste of the lentils makes it soooo worth the time and effort.

    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! Mine was not watery at all, perhaps we used a different type of lentil from one another?


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