I’ve come to realise that regardless of where I live, whether it’s New Zealand or Scotland, there are three ingredients that I’m seldom without. Lentils, potatoes and mushrooms are ingredients that I know I can reliably find in my kitchen (or easily purchase).
This recipe is about presenting three simple ingredients, in three very different ways. Whether it’s a creamy mashed potato or a rosette of crispy sliced potatoes topping a “Shepherd(less)” pie, or freshly spiralized potato noodles, making a bolognese-style dish. For all of these dishes, you’ll use the same sauce (it will become your filling, sauce or bolognese) and then choose a style of potato to finish it (rosette, piped or spiralized).
- 200g Le Puy or French green lentils
- 2 Lapsang Souchong teabags
- 1 litre water
- 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or vegetable stock for a no-oil dish
- 150g shallot or brown onion – diced
- 100g celery – diced
- 2 Tbsp tomato puree
- 100g carrot – peeled and diced
- 2 tsp Marmite or yeast extract
- 300g button mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size
- 375mls vegetable stock
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 500g Potatoes – choose a variety that suits your choice of topping
Add the lentils, water and tea bags to a medium pot, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Drain the lentils, keeping 125ml of the cooking liquid, add to the vegetable stock and set aside.
Put the oil or vegetable stock into a medium frying pan. To this, add the diced onion and celery onion, with a pinch of salt and sauté until they soften and are starting to colour. Next add the carrots and mushrooms with a grind or two of black pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Put the cornflour into a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock to make a slurry.
Add the cooked lentils, vegetable stock mixture, tomato puree, and Marmite/yeast extract to the pot. While stirring, slowly drizzle in the cornflour slurry until mixed. Continue stirring until the stock thickens and all the ingredients are combined.
At this stage you should taste the sauce; add more tomato paste and marmite if you desire a richer sauce, add only a little at a time while continuing to taste and then season.
Mashed potato, make it however you like it best, it could be crushed with olive oil or pureed with vegetable stock or use a plant-based butter and milk. Pipe or spread it on top of individual pie dishes or one family size casserole dish.
Bake in the oven at 180ºC until the top is coloured and slightly crisp.
Potato rosette topped Casserole
For best results use a mandolin to slice a waxy potato. If you don’t have a mandolin, make sure the potato slice are cut as thinly and evenly as possible – otherwise the rosette may cook unevenly.
Arrange the potato slices in circles starting around the outer edge of your casserole dish. Lightly spray or brush the potato topping with vegetable stock, canola oil or plant-based butter, and then season with sea salt.
Potato noodles with Bolognese
Make potato noodles with a spiralizer, keep submerged in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to use them.
Bring a large pot of well seasoned water to the boil, drop the potato noodles into the water and cook for 3-5 minutes. They will cook very quickly, don’t cover them while they cook as they may disintegrate. Drain and stir into warm lentil and mushroom Bolognese, sprinkle with plant-based parmesan.