Credit Crunch Cooking

OK I wouldn’t normally rave about a vegetarian version of a shepherds pie but having spent 4 hours boiling soya beans and assembling what should be a simple dish over the course of two evenings I wasn’t going to let this one slip by unnoticed. It actually worked rather well and considering my house is made up of three teenagers (1 veggie, 1 lapsed veggie who eats only fish and chips or pizza, and 1 carnivore who winces at the colour green), 5 clean plates (and no scrapings in the kitchen bin) is something of a major achievement. Not far off Spurs winning the Carling Cup last season.

This is actually quite easy to make and apart from boiling beans, shouldn’t take long to put together. It’s meant to be cheap but I guess my gas bill will more than compensate for what I saved by not buying tinned beans. As a shortcut use tinned flageolet, aduki or cannelini beans.

Olive oil
1-2 cups cooked soya beans. If using tinned, use 2x400g tins of whatever beans you fancy. Just drain and rinse them first.
1 onion – finely chopped
1 carrot – fined diced
1 stick of celery – finely diced
8-10 mushrooms – chopped
Vegetable stock
1 rounded teaspoon marmite
2 tablespoon tomato puree
Splash of soy sauce
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
4-5 medium potatoes – peeled, diced, boiled and mashed with butter, milk or cream and a little cream cheese

Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the onion, carrot and celery for about 7-8 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. Now add the cooked beans then cover with vegetable stock. Add the herbs, marmite, tomato puree and soy sauce, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes. If a little dry add more stock, if too wet, simmer with the lid off. Season to taste.

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Place in a large ovenproof dish and cover with the mashed potato. Bake in the oven at 200 C for 30-40 minutes until bubbling and brown on top.

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Serve with a dark green vegetable such as broccoli, kale or cabbage.

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