Essentially shepherd’s pie*, but veggie instead.
*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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.