It’s been like this lately.


Cold, rainy, stay-in-bed kinda weather that has made me want to cook warming, delicious foods. And since I am trying to give y’all a few weeks break from my Mexican food obsession, the recipe for this week is PIE!

This is another Isa Chandra Moscowitz recipe from Appetite for Reduction. It’s been adapted slightly to suit what I had available to me (roast pumpkin rather than potato for the top), and rather than serving it upside down as Isa suggests, I make this in a more traditional shepherd’s pie kind of way. In Isa’s book it’s called ‘Upside Down Lentil Shepherd’s Pie’. In this recipe, I cook this in a large cast iron pot that can go from the stovetop to the oven.

There is really two parts to this recipe – the filling, and the mash for the top. You can have the mash cooking alongside the pie filling and it makes this recipe really fast to make.

Lentil and Shiitake Shepherd’s Pie with Pumpkin Cauliflower Top

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1/2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
1 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup of de Puy or French lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp tamari
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sambal oelek (chilli paste)

1/2 head cauliflower
2 cups cooked pumpkin (steamed or leftover roast)

Prior to cooking, place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of boiling water and cover. Set aside for at least 10 minutes (longer if possible). Heat the oven to 180 C. Chop the cauliflower and pumpkin (if using leftover roast pumpkin you can skip this step and just steam the cauliflower) and steam until soft. Once cooked, mash with some salt, pepper, and butter/margarine to taste.

While the cauliflower and pumpkin is cooking, saute the garlic and onions in the cast iron pot until onions soften and become translucent. Turn the heat right down and remove the shiitakes from the bowl, and chop roughly. Add the shiitake, zucchini, herbs, salt and pepper to the pot and stir through. Rinse the lentils well and add to the pot along with the carrots and vegetable broth. I often use the soaking liquid from the shiitakes as part of the stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 25 minutes.

After 25 mins, check to see if the lentils are cooked. If there is excess liquid in the pot, raise the heat again and cook off briefly. Add the tamari, sambal oelek and lime juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Remove from the heat.

Spread the pumpkin and cauliflower mash over the top and put the whole pan in the oven for about 10 minutes. It may brown on top slightly – don’t worry if it doesn’t though. I find this differs with the amount of butter used in the mash!


As is the nature of shepherd’s pie, it is not the most elegant looking dish when you serve it, but this is a bowl of delicious warmth for an autumnal night.


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