Mushroom and Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie

January 10, 2018

I was chatting with Aimee from Twigg Studios a couple weeks ago about shepherd's pie versus cottage pie and she said if it's vegan it doesn't matter what it's called, so I'm going with a vegan shepherd's pie. Apparently a proper one should have lamb in it but lentil pie (farmer's pie?) doesn't really evoke the same feelings of coziness. I've read that a meatless version is called a shepherdess pie but that just makes me grouchy. My mom made shepherd's pie all the time when I was a kid but I really have no idea where her recipe came from, or where she might have eaten it. Anything with gravy and mashed potatoes was good in my books and I think I started making it when I was heading into my teens. This version is a lot different from the one I grew up on, partly because I refused to touch mushrooms until a couple years ago, but mostly because it's really healthy and meat-free. To me shepherd's pie is just something with gravy topped with mashed potatoes, but I'm not British, so what do I know?

One of my very early recipes on this blog was for a lentil and mung bean shepherd's pie, back when I still included really ugly step-by-step photos with my recipes. Check that link if you dare. This iteration is a bit simpler, with less ingredients, but much improved. I've included a little red wine for richness with the mushrooms, some fresh herbs (or dried), and a pumpkin and potato topping. Those are the stars. There are lentils for protein and lots of spices for flavour, too. On my first bite I wasn't completely sure but I just couldn't stop eating it. It's not really a speedy recipe but a fun weekend meal that should ensure some leftovers to have during the week. If you're good at multitasking it should take about 45 minutes, so not too bad. 

And very exciting news, Asha's new book, Masala and Meatballs, is out now! Asha is the writer behind Food Fashion Party and if you don't know her blog, go right now and check it out. Her work is incredible and I'm sure the book will be a staple in many kitchens. 

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, or stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin

Mushroom and Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie
Generously serves four

Mushroom and Lentil Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil 
200 grams / 2 cups brown mushrooms, halved and sliced
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small sprig rosemary leaves, finely minced
2 sage leaves, finely minced*
1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika*
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons dry red wine*
750 ml / 3 cups vegetable stock
150 grams / 1 cup brown lentils, soaked if possible*
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder + 2 tablespoons water

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium. Add the mushrooms and sear for 5 minutes. Avoid stirring often. Add the onions and cook for another 2 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic, herbs, and spices, cook for an additional minute, then pour in the red wine. Stir to loosen any spices from the bottom of the pan, then add the vegetable stock. 

Increase the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low, then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Taste and add seasoning if needed. Whisk the arrowroot powder into the 2 tablespoons of water and then stir it in to the filling. It should thicken immediately. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Pumpkin and Potato Topping

1/2 large hokkaido pumpkin, or another pumpkin variety
500 grams / 2 cups potatoes
1/4 cup* non-dairy milk (oat, almond)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Peel the pumpkin and cut it into small chunks, about 5cm. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1cm slices and place both into a medium pot with about 3cm of water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer until the vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain the water and let the potatoes and pumpkin dry in the pot for a few minutes before mashing.

Use a potato masher* to mash the vegetables before adding the milk, oil, and spices, then continue until smooth. It won't be perfectly smooth and that's okay. Set the topping aside.

Alternatively, you can halve the pumpkin and roast it at 200C / 400F for about 40 minutes, and then scoop out the flesh and mash it alongside the potatoes. I like this because then I don't have to peel the damn thing.

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. To assemble the shepherd's pie, place the mushroom filling in the base of an oven-safe baking dish. Mine was 15cm wide and about the same depth (deep dish!) but you can use a shallow dish if you prefer. Top with the pumpkin and potato mash, spreading into an even layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and the sauce has started to bubble up around the edges. Serve hot. 

• The topping and the filling can easily be made simultaneously. I usually start the potatoes once the filling is simmering.
• If you want to make this ahead of time, make both the filling and topping, then refrigerate for up to a couple of days before baking. Leftovers freeze well. 
• I made this as a deep-dish pie in a small and deep baking dish. If you use a shallow casserole dish you'll have to keep an eye on it while it's baking as the time may change slightly.
• For the topping, I prefer to roast the pumpkin instead of steaming it with the potatoes, but it's faster and more efficient to throw it in the pot and do it all at once.

1. The lentils should ideally be soaked at least overnight, but if you don't have time, shoot for at least an hour. This decreases cooking time and increases digestibility (i.e. less gas). 
2. Smoked paprika adds a nice flavour to the dish but you can use sweet paprika instead.
3. If you don't have any wine, you can use a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar instead. If you ever have leftover red wine, freeze it in an ice cube tray and then store in a sealed container and add a cube to mushroom and tomato based dishes. 
4. You can substitute a tablespoon of herbs du provence for the fresh herbs, or a teaspoon each of dried oregano and rosemary.
2 comments on "Mushroom and Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie "
  1. What gorgeous stunning pictures. I love this, and almost want to make it asap.
    Thanks for the shoutout and love, means the world to me.
    Lots of love.

    1. Thank you so much, Asha <3 you're so welcome!