Today's recipe is my recent creation, and one that my entire family enjoys every week - which is a rare thing as my children, mostly my daughter, are very picky eaters.
I will be giving two recipes, one for the lentil base which can be a pie on its own, and the other for the shepherd's pie, which is really just the addition of ground provision on top of the lentil base.
Now for a big dish you can use 1.5 cups of lentils, for a small dish 1 cup. My big dish is oval at 14x10 inches wide and the small is 10x8 inches wide. They are both 2 inches deep.
Lentil Pie or Loaf
1 or 1.5 cups lentils (the brown kind)
1 small onion
1 pimento pepper (optional)
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1/4 cup quinoa or chickpea flour (any flour you desire)
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp ground seasonings: turmeric, cumin
cooking oil of choice
1/4 eggplant (optional, you can also use another vegetable like carrot)
baking dish large or small
Soak the lentils in a dish for at least an hour so that they will take very little time to cook.
Cook them until they are soft. Remove from heat and throw into the strainer/colander with a bowl underneath to capture the water. Give it a stir or two to get the water out.
Finely dice the onion, pimento and chives (or celery as in my pic below, seasons are to your taste). Grate the garlic. Slice the eggplant into circles then cube each layer.
Transfer the strained lentils to a large mixing bowl, and using a fork, mash the lentils until it become mushy - do NOT mash ALL of the lentils, just mash enough to make it mushy which will help blend and hold together the ingredients.
Add the fresh and dried ingredients, salt, the flour, flax meal and nutritional yeast. Add one spoonful of tomato paste. Drizzle a little oil and stir everything.
Grease the pan with a little oil and spread a 1 inch layer of lentils. Flatten with a spoon. Add some more tomato paste for the top layer and spread it all over evenly, then sprinkle more nutritional yeast.
Bake at a medium heat on top shelf for about 20-30 minutes. I don't usually go by a time, to be honest, I take out the pie when all around the edges are dark brown and have pulled away from the dish, that means the bottom is brown as well.
Allow to cool away from heat so that the pie will firm up.
If you allow it to cool all the way it will be quite firm and easy to cut and serve.
As a bonus, you can also grease a muffin tin and pack the lentil mixture into it to make separate servings. When I do the muffins I smash them and then put it in a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
Follow the same method for the lentil pie.
You will need potatoes or breadfruit, dasheen or yam for the top.
Make a mash potato (or other ground provision) with a little coconut milk, turmeric and salt and butter if you use it. After you spread the lentil base and tomato paste then spread the mashed potato same way. Then sprinkle with nutritional yeast again which replaces cheese.
Base same way, take out when the edges have darkened and pulled away from the dish.
Cool and then use a knife to carve out serving sized pieces.
This is guaranteed to be a recipe you make every week for the family! Perfect for Sunday.