It's so wrong it's right! Yes, to celebrate the Christianization of Ireland it is customary to get lit up like a Chinese fire cracker on Tet spewing bile as if it were fire from the dragon's mouth. I'm sure the good Saint Patrick is giddy with delight over the thought of it. Being that I'm Asian with no chance of Irish decent anywhere in my bloodline I will most likely be the first one face down from said revelry. Unless of course I have my fill of some hearty healthy Shepherd's Pie before partaking in a green beer keg stand contest. I can't even do a head or handstand even when sober much less while drinking beer upside down. I've tried. It's ugly and embarrassing for everyone involved. Besides, it's rumored that Shepard's pie isn't even originally from Ireland, it's bloody British. So was Saint Patrick, but who even cares anymore because we are blaspheming them all by going vegan with this thing. Calm yourselves, Irish eyes, there's some green stuff in there, kin to cabbage(very Irish), kinda like the shamrock. Why vegan you ask? I have vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, and full on carnivores at the dining table at any given time so I made both meat and veg versions one evening. Aside from the ethical and health related reasons, I actually like the veg version better. It defies all meat eating logic, but it's just true. Plus, it gives you more room in the ol' gut for some Guinness. And what could possibly make beer better than it already is? Some aged Irish cheddar cheese if you please. I wouldn't say no to a fist full of it in the potatoes, but this is one of those recipes you can make your own according to your preferences and what's in the fridge. If you do go down the meat road, Bison is a nice alternative with less fat and higher iron and protein content. So, whichever way your meat ball rolls, it will still make for a lovely Shepherd/ Cottage/ Shepherdless/Vegan Pie.( I did some research and shepherd=lamb, cottage=beef, and you get the rest.) Ingredients: 6 potatoes 1/2 cup coconut milk 2 tbsp vegan butter spread *kosher salt (I can, but won't tell you how much to salt your food; you are your own salt master) 1 quart vegetable stock 3 tbsp olive oil (similar to salt, olive oil master, use more or less) 2 cups chopped kale 3 chopped carrots 2 chopped parsnips 1 cup quartered baby bella mushrooms 1/2 cup green lentils 4 garlic cloves 1 yellow onion 2 bay leaves 2 sprigs thyme 2 sprigs savory 6 oz can tomato paste 1/2 cup white wine 1tbsp worcestershire sauce (depending on how strictly vegan you are) 1tbsp brown rice miso paste breadcrumbs Directions: Peel, rinse, roughly cube potatoes and cook till soft. The smaller the pieces the faster it takes to cook as well as easier to mash. While waiting for water to boil, cook lentils for 15 minutes in 2 cups water, 1 cup vegetable stock and a *sprinkle of salt. After potatoes are fully cooked, drain, salt, butter, milk, and mash while still hot using hand mashing tool of your choice.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Heat large pan with olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook till translucent. Add chopped garlic, herbs, carrots, parsnips and cook for 5 minutes. If your pan starts to get dry at this point splash in some vegetable stock. Otherwise, add the wine in now. Throw in the mushrooms. Add tomato and miso paste, worcestershire, and a few turns of the pepper grinder. When the mushrooms start to soften pour a cup or so of the stock into the mix, stir, taste, waft in the goodness. Now add the kale and the rest of the stock as well as the lentils, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove stems from herbs as well as the bay leaves and discard. Salt to taste before ladling it all into an oven safe casserole dish. Finally, top with potato mash and breadcrumbs and put in the oven for 30-45 minutes. For a nice presentation you can top with chives or parseley. After removing from oven allow for 15 minutes or so to rest as it will be bubbling hot.