Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vegan Shepherd's Pie


1-1/3 c unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c well-chilled crisco (stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes)
3-6 T ice cold water
1 t herbs, fresh or dried (dill, sage, oregano, rosemary, or any mixture of herbs)

1. Blend flour, herbs, and salt
2. Coarsely chop shortening, then cut the shortening bits into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining. A food processor works just fine - pulse in short bursts until it looks right, using a spatula to make sure the flour gets integrated with the shortening.
3. Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. pulse briefly; add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
4. Shape dough into a ball for single pastry crust. Divide dough in two for double crust or double deep dish crust, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball(s) into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).
5. Roll dough from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate for the bottom crust.
6. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.
7. Prebake 12-15 minutes after pricking all over. let cool a bit before filling.


1 recipe of Bryanna's brown gravy:
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1/3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T Bragg's
2 1/2 c vegetable broth (alternatively, use water or soy milk, or a mix of broth/water/milk)

1. heat yeast & flour in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring constantly over medium-high heat, until it begins to brown & smell toasty.
2. Remove from heat and stir in Bragg's & liquid.
3. Return to heat, and bring to a boil, stirring/whisking to make it as smooth as possible.
4. Once it comes to a boil, simmer 3-5 minutes to thicken.


Use any combination of root (and other) vegetables that appeals to you, to make up about 2 1/2 c (once roughly chopped into about 1/4-1/2" cubes or slices). There's no need to be obsessive here - in fact a bit of variety is great. I used the following:
- parsnips, 1/4" dice
- 1 large carrot, 1/8" diagonal slices
- pearl onions, peeled and left whole (about 12 of these)
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1/2 c frozen peas
- 1/2 red bell pepper

Sautee all of these vegetables in a small amount of veg broth or oil, then add about 1/2 c water or broth to the pan and put a lid on it to steam them. The idea is to cook the vegetables until they are just done, or even slightly underdone.

Mix vegetables with the gravy. Add herbs and seasonings to taste:
- Bragg's
- sage
- thyme
- garlic powder
- red pepper flakes
- oregano


3 russet potatoes
roughly chop potatoes, cover with water in a saucepan, and boil 'til tender. Mash until free of lumps, adding a bit of salt & pepper.


Put your vegetable mix in the pie crust, top with mashed potatoes. Bake 40 minutes at 400; just before serving, broil for 2-3 minutes to brown on top.


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Ellen said...

Hi Learner's Permit,

I made your Shepherd's Pie for dinner tonight, with some substitutions to make it gluten free. I blogged about it and thanked you for the recipe. It is fantastic! Thank you!

Carol said...

Hi Crescenet, thanks so much for your kind words!

Ellen, hi! I'm really glad the pie worked out for you. I just made it again, but this time made the error of using a cast iron skillet to bake it in - NOT a good idea (the crust fell apart!) I can't resist tinkering with recipes, though :)