Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast

Remember back in December when I went to brunch with the Boston Brunchers at the Harvard Common Press?  Yeah that was a great day!!

Not only were we treated to a great meal and talks by the wonderful people of HCP but we were also given cookbooks to take home and enjoy!

I knew as soon as I saw them that "The Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast" had to be mine!  If you read this blog at all, you know I have a soft spot in my tummy for one pot meals, savory pies and hearty stews!

The first recipe I am attempting from this book (the first of many!!) is a vegetarian version of Shepard's Pie.  I grew up eating my fair share of Shepard's Pie.  My dad LOVES IT and my mom makes some of the best I have ever had!  I could have made the traditional version from the book but it is the New Year and we are all trying to eat a bit healthier right?  So I decided to skip the meat and double up on the veggies in this vegetarian version.

Doesn't that look yummy?!  (Disregard my mangled nails... DIY manicure is set for this evening)
The recipe itself looked pretty easy.  Cook down veggies, top with mashed potatoes and bake.  I can manage that!  Plus since I am super cool and stayed in Saturday night, I made my life easier by cooking the mashed potatoes the night before.  All I had to do today was cook down the veggies in a GIANT pan and then bake till the potatoes are crispy and creamy (Yes they can be both!!)

The only changes I made in the recipe is I used acorn squash instead of butternut (what I had on hand), Green Peppers instead of Red (again what I had on hand). I also cooked my potatoes in Veggi broth and added nutritional yeast to the mash along with the butter.  A little extra protein and vitamin B that adds yummy cheezey flavor to the taters'

Boil your taters' and mash them up with butter.  You don't need to add cream to them. You want them a little dryer as there will be plenty of moisture from the veggies when it cooks.

Set aside your taters and get to chopping.  That is really the biggest prep work for this recipe.  You need to chop your onions, celery, carrots, peppers, squash and cabbage.  I bought the mushrooms already sliced and honestly next time I will do the same for the cabbage and squash.  My arms are EXHAUSTED from slicing those hearty veggies!

Soften your celery and onions with Worcestershire sauce then add in your carrots and mushrooms. Don't worry if it looks a little dry when you add the carrots and shrooms.  The shrooms will release a good amount of water.  Resist the urge to add more oil or liquid!

Once your carrots and shrooms have cooked down, add in your pepper and squash and cook till soft.  If you have a pan like me you will have to wait till the veggies cook down so you have room in the pan to add more!  This is a lot of veggie goodness!!!

Add in your chopped cabbage (about 1/2 a head).  

Cook down till the cabbage has started to wilt.  Transfer to a 2 quart pan that you have lightly greased.

Spoon and spread your taters' on top of the veggie bed of yumminess (yes I make up words, but its my blog so you must accept it!)

I added a bit of EVOO to the top to help with the browning

As I type this I have just taken the goodness out of the oven and lets just say it is taking all my willpower and knowledge that I will burn my mouth off not to dive face first into it!

mmmm...crusty tater' goodness!

Profile shot of this masterpiece!  I wish you could see how bubbly this looks... I want to eat you!!!

This was a perfect Sunday recipe that will have you set with leftovers and lunches for the week!  I also love that this can be adapted to suit almost any veggies you have on hand. This is a great book for recipes and stories about food and pub life in the UK.  I highly suggest you go get it!

Thanks again to Boston Brunchers and the crew at HCP for the book!  I am in love!!!

Now I must go devour this!!!:

Vegetarian Shepard's Pie (serves 6)
2 Tbls butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups cooked potato (about 4 medium russet taters)
1 Tbls vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
2 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce
2 c. chopped carrots
2 c. chopped mushrooms
2 c. chopped butternut squash
2 c. chopped cabbage
1 c. chopped red bell pepper