Essentially shepherd’s pie*, but veggie instead.

soyapie

*Mutton = shepherd’s, beef = cottage, fish = fisherman’s, this uses soya as the main protein.

I have to say, I love meat, and as much as anything, its mostly because of the texture. I have never used this type of soya protein before – the type I used this time round was a more chunky variety (like this). This had has really nice texture; some bite but without being tough or dry. I didn’t cook this for the health benefits, although there are many (a complete protein source, cholesterol free, fat free to name but 3), but from nostalgia when I saw them in a weigh shop.

The only draw back to using soya is the lack of inherent flavour – although that leaves it as a blank canvas – and for this reason I would recommend making the ‘filling’ the day before and letting the flavours meld. I used a few rasher of streaky bacon and smoked paprika to add a smoky flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 very large (i.e. jacket) potatoes
  • 20 g butter
  • ~60 ml of milk
  • 250 g textured soya protein (TSP)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1-2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tbsp of (preferably) olive oil
  • 3 rashers of bacon (optional), finely diced
  • 1-2 onions, finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • ~2 tbsp of finely chopped deli-style roasted peppers
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp of thyme
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled* and diced
  • 400 g tomato passata (or a can of chopped tomatoes, and ~1 tblsp of concentrate)
  • 2 tbsp of Worcester sauce
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of grated cheese (optional)

Method:

  1. In a suitable bowl, add the TSP and a stock cube – then cover them in boiling water. Set aside until you are ready to use it.
  2. If you are making the pie in one go then put the potatoes on to boil, cook for ~15 minutes, while you make the sauce. When they are tender, mash then add the butter and milk. Season and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to a large frying pan and fry the bacon, if using, until it starts to brown, then add the onions and garlic until they just begin to colour.
  4. Add the TSP, and retain the stock to add when you add the tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients up, but not including, the tomatoes. Fry for 3-4 minutes – so everything has had a chance to fry for a little while.
  5. Add the tomatoes, passata and stock. Season – because of the Worcester sauce and stock it probably won’t need any extra salt. Simmer until it has thickened nicely.
  6. Place the filling in a baking tray (a 25 cm square dish should do the trick) and then using two spoons, spoon over the mash. Score the top with a fork to give it grooves to go crispy and then top with a grated cheese or a light drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Cook for around 25-30 minutes in a hot oven (220C/400F/GM8), until the top browns and goes crispy. If you have an oven like ours, you might want to turn it 1/2 way through so it evenly browns. As everything is cooked already, you only need the top to brown – so if you do this while the mash and filling is still warm then you could just pop it under a grill, or roast it with the oven turned up full.

* to peel tomatoes score the skin into quarters (go around from the stem back to the stem) then in a bowl, cover them with boiling water for ~30 seconds. Then you should be able peel them off easily. You can watch a video here.

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