Delicious lentil stew underneath a puff pastry crust.
1 cup dry brown lentils
4 cups water for cooking lentils
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1.5 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup peas (I used frozen)
1.5 cups chopped potato
4 plus 1 cups water
2 broth cubes or 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon
2 cups stewed chopped tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
1 teaspoon sage
3/4 cup flour
1 thawed puff pastry crust, I used Pepperidge Farm brand
Thaw puff pastry sheet overnight in the refrigerator. Alternately, thaw it by letting it sit on the countertop for 2 hours.
In a small pot, combine lentils and lentil cooking water. Bring to a boil. Stir and turn heat down to medium. Simmer uncovered for 50 – 60 minutes, or until lentils have absorbed the water and are soft.
Meanwhile, fry onions in oil in a very large pot on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the carrot and potato, stir-fry for about 1 minute more. Add sage and paprika, wait about 30 seconds. Douse with 4 cups water and bouillon cubes/Better Than Bouillon, reserving 1 cup of water for later. Cook until potatoes are tender. Depending on the potato, this can happen in anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. I used red potatoes and for some weird reason, they took a small eternity to cook. I suggest using Yukon Gold potatoes. They are a fast cooking potato. Add the peas once the potatoes are either nearly done or done.
Add tomatoes to stew.
Mix reserved 1 cup of water with 3/4 cup flour into a slurry. Add this slurry to the stew and stir until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
Dump or ladle half of the stew into a 13 x 13 casserole dish. There will be enough stew to make another casserole (puff pastry usually comes in packs of 2 by the way), to freeze, or just to eat. Cover the 13 x 13 dish with thawed puff pastry sheet. Trim the edges to fit and make sure to vent the top so you don’t have exploding Shepherd’s Pie.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.