“When I’m feeling low, sometimes preparing a nostalgic meal can really lift my spirits”
We haven’t had the best start with weather this year have we? And with that in mind I’ve found myself preparing more warming and comforting dishes than I have before.
With cold weather and dull, grey skies also comes a lower mood and dampened spirit, which is why I often look to book a holiday or short getaway where I can to recharge and get an energy boost – but when I can plan a great escape or hide away, the next best thing is cooking a warm meal that bring to mind the thoughts of “home comforts.”
I remember when I was younger, on the colder days, getting in from school and seeing a Shepherd’s or Cottage pie waiting in the kitchen ready to be eaten. There was always something about stewed veg and mashed potatoes that just made me think of home.
And there was nothing that made me want to walk home from school quicker on a colder day than knowing my mum would have a stew or pie waiting for me
I’m ashamed to admit that I only truly discovered lentils around 18 months ago. Which is a little concerning considering how they’ve become a staple in diets in both of my heritage continents.
I mean, I’d eaten them, but I’d never cooked with them or actually realised the potential they had to expand the textures and tastes of a dish.
They really do absorb the flavours you put into a dish and they can at times offer that meaty taste and texture some of you may miss – depending on how you cook them of course.
For this recipe, I worked with puy lentils – I often try to avoid the ready-to-eat or canned types and opt for dry simply because they’re not only cheaper but I can rest assured knowing they’ve not had anything further added to them like salt – it’s good peace of mind.
The great thing is, they’re packed with protein, fibre and enough vitamins and minerals to nurture your bodies…and minds!
I may look to do a post about the various lentil types as I progress into cooking more, but the main ones I use or puy and red because both are great for the dishes I so often cook!
However, this is a great post,about the various lentil types, should you want to explore some more.
It amazes me how many different aisles you see lentils placed upon. I’ve said it before though, and I’ll say it again – always check out the World Food aisle of your local supermarket as you may find some hidden gems and some additional cost savings too!
Should you opt to buy dry puy lentils like me, it’s important to know that they will benefit from soaking in warm water for a few hours prior to cooking or bringing to the boil to soften them prior to adding to this recipe.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOKING TIME: 45 MINS
COST: < £4
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 700g of new or miniature potatoes (or if you want to opt for the healthier option you can use sweet potato, but remove the skin)
- 30g of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 300g of chopped and peeled carrots
- 300g of frozen peas
- 1 large onion
- 1 small red onion
- 500g of closed cup mushrooms thinly sliced
- 250g of puy lentils (if dry, soak in warm water for a few hours prior to cooking or bring to the boil)
- 3 large garlic cloves (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 200 ml of water
- Teaspoon of dried oregano
- Teaspoon of dried basil
- Teaspoon of dried parsley
- Teaspoon of crushed chilli flakes (optional for heat)
- A pinch of salt
- Teaspoon of pepper
- Teaspoon of vegan butter
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the potatoes – keep the skins on for that added texture – boil until tender
- While boiling finely chop the fresh parsley
- Once tender, drain and return the potatoes to the pan, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, spoon in the butter and add in half of the chopped parsley then lightly mash with a fork or potato masher and set aside – you don’t want them to be smooth or creamy, we want a more rustic texture – you could say lumpy, but it’s not as attractive eh?
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep pan and add the onion and garlic together with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper – stir for 2-3 minutes to prevent the ingredients from “catching” on the pan.
- Increase the heat under the pan and add chopped carrots and the sliced mushrooms, frying for around 7 minutes, or until they start to soften – make sure you stir a couple of times during those 7 minutes
- Now it’s time to add in the lentils, crushed chilli flakes, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and 200 ml of water
- Stir and combine ingredients thoroughly and then simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened – add the remaining parsley and stir
- Preheat your oven to 200°C
- Pour the mixture from the saucepan into a deep baking dish or roasting tin and spoon over the crushed potatoes and press down with a fork
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and pop in the oven for a further 10 minutes
- If you want a completely crispy potato crust you can always swap to the grill, but I like mine saucy and smooth – serve!
Tried this recipe? Let me know how it turned out.