We are meat eaters here at my house. My husband especially. Occasionally, I can pull off a no-meat dinner and hear no complaints, but I know not to do it too often. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was blessed with her third child and I wanted to take her and her family dinner. The catch is that they are vegetarians! I knew I would be taking her dinner well in advance so I started searching the web for yummy looking dinners for them. I came across a gardener's pie, which is basically like shepherd's pie but without the meat and lots of veggies in it. My family loves shepherd's pie, so I thought it would be a good choice for them. I did actually send her a couple of recipes to choose from, and she chose this one as well. I made a very small one for us to have as a side dish along with some salmon cakes so I wouldn't hear too much complaining from my husband or kiddos. It was quite tasty and my friend and her family enjoyed it too! Score! Now I get to share a vegetarian dish with you guys, because I know some of you guys prefer those too. This is hearty enough to have as a main dish since it contains beans, but you could definitely half it and serve it as a side dish to some grilled chicken or fish in my opinion.
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice*
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen shelled green peas
*Russet or Yukon gold potatoes may also be used. Also if you prefer to peel your potatoes, then do so, I am too lazy to peel my potatoes.
For the Mashed Potatoes:
Place the diced potatoes in a medium saucepan, and cover with salted cold water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the saucepan off of the heat.
Warm the cream and butter in the microwave for 35 seconds.
Mash the potatoes. Add the half-and-half and butter mixture, salt, and pepper, and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the egg yolk. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the Filling:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the flour, and keep cooking for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, vegetable broth, rosemary and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the kidney beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the corn and peas.
Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in an 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up, and smooth with a rubber spatula. Put the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.