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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

November 30, 2009

I’ve definitely been in the mood for old-school comfort food and I’ve been wanting to make Shepherd’s Pie, Hungarian Goulash, cabbage rolls and the like.  I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie last night but wanted to see if I could make it vegetarian, and mushrooms seemed like a pretty obvious choice.  So, I looked around online and found a Mushroom Bourguinon recipe from Smitten Kitchen for the base, and was inspired to put some white cheddar in the potato topping from hunger hunger.  The results turned out just like I’d hoped- a really flavorful *meaty* mixture with a flavorful mashed potato topping.  Plus, this made a ton of food and will keep well.  I forgot my camera cord, but will have a photo for you tomorrow!  Serves 6-8 generously.


For the mushroom base:

2 T olive oil

2 T butter, softened

2 lbs portobello and cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick

1 carrot, finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 t fresh thyme leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c red wine

2 c vegetable broth

2 T tomato paste

1 1/2 T all-purpose flour

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans), defrosted

For the potato topping:

4 large Russet potatoes (about 3 lbs), scrubbed, peeled and cut into 1″ dice

2 T butter

1/4 c milk

1 c shredded white cheddar

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring potato cubes to a boil in a large pot and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil and 1 T butter in a deep skillet over medium high heat until melted.  Put mushrooms in pan and sear until they begin to darken, but do not release liquid- about 2-4 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Lower flame to medium and add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery and thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, caramelize the vegetables.  You want a brown film to form on the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat up to high and add the red wine, scraping off the film from the bottom on the pan.  Boil until reduced by half.  Stir in the vegetable broth and the tomato paste and add back the mushrooms and their juices.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to keep mixture at a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Combine remaining butter and flour with a fork to form a thick paste.  Stir into mushroom mixture and simmer until thickened.  You want a very thick gravy consistency and can add more butter/flour combination to reach desired thickness.   Stir in defrosted vegetables and set aside.

Finish the potatoes by mashing the drained potatoes with 2 T butter, milk and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  You want them to be like mashed potatoes, so add more milk as necessary to achieve the right consistency.

To assemble the dish: spoon the mushroom minture into a greased 9″ x 13″ glass or ceramic baking dish.  Drop the potatoes on top of the mixture in spoonfuls, them smooth to form a crust.  Place an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet larger than the baking dish in the oven, and place the Shephard’s pie on top of it to catch and drips.  Bake for 30  minutes until mushroom mixture is bubbling and potatoes are set and beginning to brown.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcia permalink
    December 1, 2009 8:12 pm

    Oh, boy — this is one of the best & most savory casseroles I’ve ever eaten! (And I’ve had a lot of casseroles.) Tom, Greg and I were the lucky recipients of this offering and we all dug in for seconds and thirds. Thanks, Sarah!

  2. Amanda permalink
    December 8, 2009 10:43 am

    There’s a restaurant we go to here that serves a vegetarian Shepherd’s pie that has lentils as a base, but I think this one sounds better! I too have been craving comfort food and am going to have to give this a whirl. Plus you know how I love making big dishes with lots of leftovers… 😉

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