This is a comforting plate of fodder if ever there was one.
It’s what we’ve needed up here lately – as I type there’s a gale blowing round the house and it’s bitterly cold outside. It feels so good to be snugly sipping wine on the sofa while the wind whips through the chimneys.
This is one of those really useful recipes – a great fridge cleaner-outer, as you can chuck in whatever vegetables you’ve got. For this one I used carrots, celery and onions, but I often chuck in a bit of finely sliced cabbage, and kale’s really good in it too. It’s nice to mix it up, and it’s also nice to use quite a few different types of veggies in here, as then you get not only contrasts of flavour but also those of texture, often missing in cottage pies.
Whatever you use, make sure you don’t get tempted by the delicious smell into taking it out of the oven too early – you want it brown and crispy and gnarly on the top.
Oh – and I used butter in the recipe below, it makes the vegetables go nice and creamy as they’re sweating down, and for me, is the best way of making mash – but I’ve made both with olive oil and that’s really good too if you want a vegan version. I also just quickly made up some gravy with bisto to serve this – again, use a vegan-friendly alternative if you like.
Green Lentil and Vegetable Cottage Pie
3 large carrots, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cloves garlic, crushed
knob of butter or olive oil
300g green lentils
1 tablespoon tomato puree
splash red wine (optional – use vegetable stock instead if you’re not using wine)
1 teaspoon each of rosemary, thyme and sage
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
around 500g worth of mashed potato, to top
gravy, to serve (optional)
1. Sweat off the vegetables in the fat for around half an hour until they’re nice and soft.
2. Turn up the heat and add the wine, if you’re using, and tomato paste, to cook them off a little.
3. Pop all of the ingredients except the mash into the slow cooker and cook for as long as you like really – it won’t come to any harm if you leave it in all day!
4. Turn out into a greased oven dish and dollop the mashed potato on top.
5. Cook for about 45 minutes until the top is nicely brown and crispy.
This ticks a lot of boxes, being cheap, family and freezer-friendly and full of veggies, and I’m linking up with My Legume Love Affair, from Lisa’s Kitchen and Susan’s The Well Seasoned Cook, hosted this month at Cooking With Siri, Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diaries’ No Waste Food Challenge, Jacqueline’s Meat Free Mondays and the Slow Cooked Challenge from Farmers Girl Kitchen and Baking Queen 74.