Daily Vegan Lunch for 31 October, 2013: Shepherd’s Pie With Puff Pastry

Delicious lentil stew underneath a puff pastry crust.

vegan shepherd's pie with puff pastry

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INGREDIENTS:

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

DIRECTIONS:

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.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 October, 2013: Pot Pie

This was outstanding eaten on a cold, rainy day when I got home late from work.

vegan creamy tofu pot pie

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PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup palm-oil free vegetable shortening (cheapie safflower oil shortening) or 1/2 cup vegan butter

1 and 1/4 cups flour

Enough cold water to moisten

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons oil
1.5 cups firm tofu, drained, sliced, and patted dry with clean towel or paper towels

1.5 cups onion
2 more teaspoons oil

1 cup peas (I used frozen)
1.5 cups carrots

1.5 cups water and 2 broth cubes
1/2 cup chickpea flour or more regular flour

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon sage

DIRECTIONS:

Put a mixing bowl with 1 and 1/4 cups flour in it in the freezer.

Slice tofu and pat it dry with a clean towel or paper towels.  Cut the tofu into small cubes.  Heat oil in a pan on high heat.  Fry the tofu in oil on medium-high heat until lightly browned, set aside.

Now make the stew. Fry the onions in the bottom of a pot on medium-high heat until they are translucent. Add sage and paprika, fry 30 more seconds. Add the carrots, peas, broth cubes, and 1 cup of water. Cook until the carrots are al dente or almost fork tender.

Thicken the stew by combining the remaining 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup flour and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and mixing into a slurry. Dump this into the stew and stir until stew is thickens, about 1 – 2 minutes.  Taste test stew and add salt if needed.

Take the mixing bowl with flour in it out of the freezer. Add 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or vegan butter to the flour. Chop the shortening into small, pea sized pieces with a spoon or a pair of knives. Add water little by little until the mixture sticks together as a dough but is still a bit dry.

Sprinkle a few teaspoons of flour on the cutting board and rub down the rolling pin with it. Divide the dough into 2 halves. Roll the crust out to 1/4 inch thick. Use crust to line a cast iron pan like I did or a small casserole dish. Pour the stew filling into the crust. Roll out the top crust and lay it on the pie. Pinch the edges of the two crusts to seal and cut some slits on the top so your pot pie does not explode. If you have extra dough, you can use it to decorate the pie as I did.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.