- C​ircular carrots. We'd could argue about that for a bit as well.

T​he pies have it

V​ote yes to minced stuff with mashed-up potato on the top thereof.

51w ago

I​'m aware of this debate that isn't really raging about whether or not burgers and sausages can be vegetarian, and I think it's a lot of fuss about nowt.

W​e all know what a sausage is. The word has a default meaning, which is that it's made with pork and sweepings, but it's also a shape, and the meaning can be modified with other words: chicken 'n' leek, Cumberland, battered.

L​ikewise the burger. Obviously it's a beef patty, strictly, but it can also be qualified: gourmet, cheese, double. In many parts of the middle east the preferred meat is lamb, giving us the lamburger. But it's still a burger, and served like one.

T​his brings me to the above item, which is obviously a shepherd's pie, because it's made with mince, topped with potato, and baked in a dish. It isn't a pastry pie, or a casserole, or the three-bladed constant-speed propeller from the Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia.

'​We all know what a sausage is'

M​y point is this: about 80 per cent of the meaning of 'shepherd's pie' is it's form, not the precise ingredients. Do you put the carrots in the mix or on the side? A bit of cheese on the top? The shepherdness of the pie is unaffected, and neither is it affected if I reveal that this is a vegetarian shepherd's pie.

I​t's made with one of those plant-based mince substitutes, and I can't remember which one, but it doesn't matter. The important thing to remember is that they all absorb cooking juices like Richard Hammond's hair absorbs Grecian 2000; that is, gallons.

I​ started in the usual way, frying some chopped up shallots (bit more subtle than an onion). I also added one chilli and some roasted and ground fenugreek and coriander seeds, because they were there.

Then I browned off the 'mince', and it's at this point that you realise you should keep some on the garage floor in case your sump plug falls out. Amazing. Add more oil.

O​nce the mince had exhausted the output of an American cornfield I threw in a cupful of vegetable stock to add moistness, plus some chopped mushrooms to add mushroomness, and a squirt of tomato puree to add… you've got it. The potato bit is obvious.

I​t actually tasted pretty good. Not like a lamb shepherd's pie, but it was still a shepherd's pie experience, and wouldn't be confused with anything else. It's a vegetarian shepherd's pie, and no-one is going to be caught out.

N​ot vegan, though, as there was a bit of milk in the mash. A goat is annoyed somewhere.

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Comments (48)

  • This was definitely meant to be on Foodtribe

      11 months ago
    • Yes, it was. Drive... food... whatevs.

        11 months ago
    • Shall we check FoodTribe for a car-themed piece of yours then? Missing them

        11 months ago
  • I came for the cars, I stayed for the Shepherd’s Pie

      11 months ago
  • The spices are what helps the mince substitute to be more than just texture. I have to eat a mostly ‘plant based’ diet now under Drs orders & this looks good to me, whatever tribe it’s on.

      11 months ago
    • You may find this Australian culinary herb book useful, or at least fun .

        11 months ago
  • that looks amazing - if I was given this on a plate, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't realise it was vegetarian

      11 months ago
    • My thoughts also - what if Mr. Mays Royal Oak dining establishment served plant based steaks and salmon ? Could be fun attempting to spot the difference ?

      Does anyone remember the mushroom based meals served at the scientists Nuthutch in...

      Read more
        11 months ago
  • To be fair, it IS his platform... He can post whatever he wants wherever the hell he wants... I suppose... 🤔

      11 months ago