This one truly was a triumph. I actually – wait for it – fooled the husband. I let him eat three helpings before I told him it wasn’t beef.
The weather just turned crisp and cool in New England, so I got a hankering for Shepherd’s Pie. My mom makes the absolute best — simple sauteed beef & onions, creamed corn, mashed potatoes — and I wanted to re-create the taste and texture of it while designing a meat-free, yet still hearty and delicious, version. Here’s what I did.
4 frozen portobello burger patties, thawed in refrigerator (or, about 2 cups of chopped and de-gilled fresh portobello mushroom caps. 2 cups chopped = roughly 2 whole mushroom caps.)
1 onion, chopped
1 can corn
1 can creamed corn
2-3 carrots,cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 or 5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed for boiling
Butter/ butter substitute (for skillet and potatoes)
Cream/milk/soy cream/dairy sub of your choice (for mashing potatoes)
Worcestershire sauce, to give the mushrooms a meaty flavor. (*Worcestershire sauce traditionally contains anchovies, but you can find varieties that do not. You could also substitute Henderson’s Relish, which has a similar flavor but is 100% vegan*).
Set the potatoes on to boil while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Heat butter in a good-sized skillet over medium and add the onions, sauteeing until translucent. Add the portobello mushrooms and brown them, adding a dab of butter as necessary to keep the pan from sticking.
Add the carrots, cover and reduce to low-medium, stirring occasionally until carrots are tender.
Add worcestershire sauce (eyeball it) and other seasonings to your personal preference. (You know me — my favorite is the Trader Joe’s 21-seasoning salute).
Take off heat and spread the “meat” mixture into a 9×13 glass baking dish or two 8×8 square glass baking dishes (I did this because I was making one for us and one for my husband’s grandfather, who is almost 90. Hi Granddad!)
Top the “meat” mixture with the canned corn, spreading out evenly over the dish, and then with the creamed corn, doing the same.
Finally, drain and mash your potatoes, adding butter and cream (substituting non-dairy as per your diet) and salt if you prefer. I use a hand-masher to keep things quick and simple.
Spread the potatoes evenly atop the corn.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 35 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 minutes to brown the potatoes. I actually set mine under the broiler for the final 5 minutes of cooking time because I like a crisp shell of potato to dig into.
Cool briefly and serve.
You can also assemble and cook the next day / at someone else’s house like I did. In my opinion, Shepherd’s Pie, traditional and otherwise, is a dish that improves when it is reheated as leftovers.