Until you try it! I loved this combination. The peanut butter adds great flavor, creaminess and some added protein to this soup. Plus, the ease of making it was what attracted me. It’s not exactly a holiday inspired recipe, but I have been so busy this month all I wanted was something easy! Plus, I got another chance to use my slow cooker and my grandma’s canned tomatoes from her garden!
Do you ever get home from a long day at work, open a bottle of red wine and think “….lets just order take-out tonight” or “lets have cereal for dinner”?
Then this is the recipe for you! It’s fast, has simple ingredients (plus, you already have the wine open), and it’s just so darn tasty! There’s also just something simply wonderful about a steaming pot on the stove on a chilly autumn day.
I think Sheppard’s pie describes my weekend perfectly.
I went to a rodeo in Vanderhoof, BC to watch my friend ride a bull. I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into when I agreed to go. I used to go to rodeos all the time (I grew up in 100 Mile House, BC) but apparently I forgot just how stressful it can be watching someone you know ride an angry bucking bull!
You have to stay on the bucking bull for eight seconds, which doesn’t seem like long until you realize how massive and aggressive these animals are: they weigh between 1,100-2,200 lbs! National Geographic called it the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.
These crazy cowboys pay expensive entry fees to ride these things, and then they make you wait in anticipation for hours until the very end of the rodeo to do it! At least we all got to go to the barn dance when it was over.
Anyway, my point, in a very round about way, is that I had a country themed weekend and it inspired me to make a country themed recipe!
Sheppard’s pie has many variations and goes by many names including cottage pie, sheppardless pie (vegetarian version), cumberland pie (made with a layer of breadcrumbs on top), St Stephen Day’s pie (made with turkey or ham) and the French Canadian version pâté chinois (French for “Chinese pie”) often made with ketchup mixed in.
Considering there is so many variations of this recipe I decided I deserve to have my own version — Melissa Pie! It suits me perfectly: it’s colorful, healthy, fun, and a little sneaky!
Author: Recipe adapted from Cook! (Dietitians of Canada cookbook)
Recipe type: Main
500g extra-lean ground meat (I used moose)
1.5 cups canned green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cups finely chopped onion
1.5 cups finely chopped carrot
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ - ½ tsp ground nutmeg
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2¼ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1.5 cups canned or thawed frozen corn, drained
1 cup peas
4.5-5 cups mashed yam and cauliflower mix(about 2-3 medium sweet potatoes and half a large head of cauliflower)
3 cloves garlic, roasted
Preheat oven to 350 F
To prepare mashed topping steam or roast chopped yams (with skin) and cauliflower until tender (this goes quick in the microwave if you want to speed things up). Then process them in a food processor with the roasted garlic, a splash or two of milk, a bit of butter, salt and pepper (to taste) until the desired consistency, leave a little chunky if you like
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook meat, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, for about 8 minutes or until no longer pink. You can add a few crushed red pepper flakes if you like it a little spicy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl, mix in the lentils and set aside. Drain off all but about 2-3 tsp fat from the pan (if you use moose there will be no fat in the pan)
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute for 5 min. Add carrot, celery, pepper and nutmeg to the skillet and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes more or until vegetables are softened. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth and bring to a boil; boil, stirring, until thickened. Return beef, lentil mixture and accumulated juices to the pan and stir to coat
Pour beef mixture into a 9*13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle corn and peas evenly over top. Spread yam and cauliflower mash evenly over corn and peas
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out hot (if you really want you can also top this dish with some shredded cheese when it comes out of the oven)
It’s perfect to make with friends on a Friday night — cheap, quick and easy so you have more time to catch up (and have a glass of wine), instead of focusing on a complicated recipe! Although, if you are planning to go out after, just be aware that you may smell like curry, we learned this the hard way!
This dahl also freezes really well. I separated the left over dahl into old yogurt containers, labelled them, and threw them in the freezer. The rice doesn’t freeze very well so keep a cooked grain on hand in the fridge — I always do this anyway.
These were so perfect to grab for a healthy, warm lunch on a cold winter day…apparently it’s spring in Prince George, but there’s 2 feet of snow on my deck so I call it winter still!
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro (or green onions)
Place lentils in a fine sieve and pick through to remove any stones or grit. Rinse well and drain; stir into broth and set aside.
In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; sauté onion for 3 min or until starting to soften. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste (to taste), salt and pepper; sauté for 2 min or until softened. Add lentils in broth, squash and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
Cover, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 min or until squash and lentils are soft and tender. Remove from heat and mash lightly with a potato masher. Sprinkle with cilantro, yogurt and garam masala (if using). Serve with papadum, brown rice, or naan.
I had this weird notion in my head that I didn’t like barley because I had only ever had it in soups I didn’t like. I was very wrong, it’s delicious!
Its got a great chewing texture, it’s super filling and it’s cheap! Which makes it a great option for a grain salad to pack for weekday lunches — or freeze in single serve portions if you don’t like eating the same thing every day. I am a huge fan of keeping single servings of meals in the freezer to grab on my way out the door.
Put the lentils, barley and whole garlic cloves (I actually used 3 but I LOVE garlic) in a medium pot and add water to cover by a couple inches; bring to a boil and cook for 45 min, or until tender.
Drain well, discard the garlic cloves (or eat them on a cracker! mmm), and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine cooled lentils and barley and all the other salad ingredients.
Shake the dressing in a small jar or whisk in a bowl, pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss.
Note: this dressing recipe makes much more dressing than I use personally but I generally don't like a lot, so dress it with less if your tastes match mine and save the rest in the fridge for other purposes.