With all of the hype lately about HRH Queen Elizabeth II 60 years on the throne, it only seemed right to have a Diamond Jubilee party in her honour.
My contribution was a vegetarian Shepherd's Pie that I decorated with food-coloured mashed potatoes in the design of the Union Jack. I thought it was fun an festive, although it felt a bit odd to be eating colored mashed potatoes.
I used Boca meatless crumbles as the base, along with fresh peas, carrots, and an onion. I cooked all of these down until they got nice and caramelized and deglazed the pan with a little bit of white wine since I was out of red (it would have probably went better with red but I actually like some of the acidity and frutiness the white wine added). I seasoned the lot with fresh thyme, sage, and a bay leaf, along with salt and pepper of course.
I think the end result was pretty darn good. I'd like to try the same thing with ground meat next time. My whole logic was that I didn't want the pie greasy, and it certainly wasn't. I really think this is a great vegetarian meal, regardless if you pipe on a Union Jack or not! I'll put the recipe at the end of the post for those who are inclined.
1 bag Boca / Morningstar Meatless crumbles
6-10 oz fresh carrots, diced
6-10 oz fresh peas (can substitute for frozen but don't cook as long)
1 onion, diced
Few sprigs fresh thyme
2-6 leaves fresh sage (adjust according to preference)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup red wine for deglazing
4lbs good potatoes
4 oz butter
1-2 cups whole milk (adjust depending on consistency of the potatoes)
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Nutmeg, preferably fresh
Start by combining all of the ingredients in a large pan over medium-high heat until the carrots are soft and onions translucent. Bring the heat up a touch and deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping all of the bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Put into a large square baking dish (ingredients should be about 1-2 inches high).
For the mashed potatoes, peel and cut the potatoes into 1-2 inch pieces and cook until a knife pierces them effortlessly. Cool slightly, then put into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the butter until melted, then add the milk until creamy. Season potatoes to taste.
Spread the potatoes on top of the mixture, being careful not to mix them so you have an even layer on top.
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Place under the broiler for a few minutes at the end if you prefer browned potatoes.