Cheese and vegetable Shepherd’s pie

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Traditionally a shepherd’s pie is made with minced meat, vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes. Every night in the kitchen I have to come up with a vegetarian option for our guests. Unlike in a proper restaurant or hotel setting we set our menus on a daily basis. On the plus side it allows us the freedom and space to be creative and use our flair and talent but it also means I tend to be hit with the culinary version of writer’s block.
2 nights ago whilst trying to think of a vegetarian dish I could serve I looked around the kitchen for inspiration. I also searched on the internet for inspiration and came across Betta Living (bettaliving.co.uk) who are running a meat-free vegetarian week. Looking at other recipes on their site I finally came up with an idea. A vegetable and cheese shepherd’s pie. I made my potato mash (to get potato mash super smooth and lump free scrape it through a chinois or a large sieve with a scraper, spoon or spatula whilst still hot.) Your mash has to be smooth to get that awesome final look.

I did not follow a specific recipe so you will need to use your own discretion with quantities. Since its vegetables you don’t have to worry about how much of each thing you use but the more variety the better. Here is what I put in mine :

– Baby Corn
– Baby Marrow
– Spring Onion
– Cubed Baby Carrots
– Green Beans
– Yellow Patty Pans
– Chickpeas
– Baked Beans

Once I had blanched the veggies for a few minutes (don’t overcook them!) I threw them into a hot pan with butter and the baked beans and stirred in some grated mature cheddar cheese and buffalo mozzarella balls. I added some chopped chives, parsley and some salt and pepper.

Pour the veg mix into single portion size soup bowls. I then spooned my mash into a piping bag that we normally use for icing cakes. It results in a beautiful end product. I piped the top of the pies like I would miniature cakes. Once baked the peaks of the mash caramelise beautifully. (Like the genius I am, I forgot to take a picture of this. *sigh*). If you don’t feel like doing this step then simply spoon the mash onto the veggies and bake it. That’s it. Pretty simple in theory but remember to balance the flavours correctly. Season the veggies right and get that super smooth mash. Check out #BettaRecipe on twitter and other social media for more awesome tasty but meat-free recipes.

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