Vegetarian isn’t exactly the first thing to come to mind when thinking of Irish Cuisine. Meat stews, meat pies and corned beef are probably the more popular dishes that come to mind at first thought. I am Irish American and certainly proud of it. I will admit I don’t think I have ever even tasted corned beef, was never big on stews, and when Mom said dinner was shepherd’s pie I wasn’t exactly rushing to the table. So when the family got together last year for St. Pat’s I was excited to bring some plant based options so I would have something to eat and perhaps the family would give it a go too. Last year I made Engine 2 Diet’s Shepherd’s Pie and Fat Free Vegan’s Calcannon to share with the family and both were big hits!
This year I went to my cookbooks for something new to try. The Forks Over Knives cookbook has a number of shepherd’s pie recipes; not all are traditional Irish (there is a Tuscan and a Moroccan version). I went with another lentil option, Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Rustic Parsnip Crust. This recipe is different than last year’s but still quite simple to put together. I added a string bean layer between the lentil layer and potato layer because that’s what I grew up with. I will say that while I liked this version I do think I liked the original recipe slightly more. The recipe for the cookbook version is online as well, posted to the Forks Over Knives facebook page.
Unlike my Father who insists on putting ketchup on his shepherd’s pie (you know you’re Irish when you put ketchup on potatoes, and spaghetti, and well…everything), I prefer gravy. I had already tried the Happy Herbivore Peppered Mushroom Gravy in Week 6 so decided to give Veganomicon Mushroom Gravy a try this time around. The two are quite different. The Happy Herbivore Abroad version uses non-dairy milk and garlic for a creamy base, while Veganomicon mixes flour and broth for a base and adds sage and other herbs for a lovely earthly flavor. I used baby bella’s in place of cremini mushrooms because that is what I had on hand. I must say I loved this gravy; so much so that I had to find a way to use it all up after I was done with my Sherpherd’s Pie. I made a some pasta with peas and mixed in the gravy for a very fast, simple, and delicious weeknight dinner.
It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without Irish Soda Bread. My Mother made Irish Soda Bread every year, and only for St. Patrick’s Day. I love her recipe, and always thought that this was some kind of family recipe. It wasn’t until I was grown that Mom informed me that my father’s mother had found the recipe in the back of her Star magazine (which she only bought for the crossword puzzles of course). Sad as I was I still love that recipe. This year I gave the Happy Herbivore version a go for the first time. I’d tell you how it is but I’m still waiting for it to cool!
New Recipes Made This Week: 5
New Recipe Tally 2013: 43