I wanted to make a really flavorful vegan "shepard's pie," using mashed carrots in lieu of mashed potatoes. Both parts of the recipe can be made in advance***, but I describe it below as two parts that are prepared side-by-side, to economize on time. This recipe is also gluten free, the stew gets thickened with pureed beans. This pie could be served as a main dish with seasoned grains and a salad or it could go alongside some roasted meat. The stew alone is quite tasty on its own with crostini. —Sadassa_Ulna
6 (main dish) -10 (side)
White Bean Stew
cooked white beans, divided*
olive oil, divided
ribs celery, chopped, (about 1-1/2 cups) include leafy tops
Heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat; add the onion and celery. Stir occasionally for 7 minutes, add the garlic and cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Lower heat to low and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until celery starts to get a little soft. Meanwhile get the carrot mash started.
While carrots are cooking, blend 1/2 cup of the white beans with the remaining olive oil and slow;y add 1/2 cup water in a food processor (or large mortar and pestle). Add about half the sun-dried tomatoes and puree until smooth. Reserve.
Once celery is soft, add the mushrooms. Stir and cook for 5 minutes more. Make a well in the middle and add the stock, spices, and celery leaves. Stir thoroughly and add the bean puree and remaining sundried tomatoes. Add remaining white beans and stir gently. Stew should be fairly thick. Turn off heat and get back to the carrot mash.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place stew in a small casserole dish, approximately 9" square or a little bigger. Smooth down stew with back of spoon. Spread carrot mash evenly on top. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Walnut-Parsley Topping.
* Most bean varieties would work, either cooked or canned. ** I used oil-packed; dry-packed sundried tomatoes might need to be soaked in a little boiling water to soften. *** Stew and mash can be made up to 24 hours ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator; bring to room temp. before assembling and baking. Walnut-Parsley Topping should be made fresh.
Carrot Mash with Walnut-Parsley Topping
Heat orange juice and chopped carrots in a saucepan with lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat and cook until soft and there is little liquid left, about 30 minutes; allow to cool, then blend in food processor (or blender) with walnut oil. Slowly add 1/4 cup or so water until the consistency of firm mashed potatoes. The texture should still have a little grit to it, but the last baking will soften that.
Layer carrot mash over bean stew as described in recipe above.
Blend remaining 1/4 tsp. salt with parsley, walnuts and lemon zest and reserve for garnishing baked pie.
Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things!
So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.