This makes a great colourful and wholesome meal with rich earthy flavours from the beetroot and the lentils. If you don’t have / like beetroot add more of the other veg. or substitute it for finely chopped aubergine instead. This recipe will serve four people.
I started by boiling a kilo of potatoes in salted hot water to make the mash. I also separately boiled about a cup (or just under) of brown lentils, both will take 15-20 mins to cook. If you prefer use a tin of pre-cooked lentils.
While they are cooking, in a deep casserole pot (mine is 20 cm diameter) I fried a medium-sized finely chopped onion in some olive oil and then I added a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a out 200g of finely chopped mushrooms and half a tsp of salt and sautéed this while I chopped a courgette into small cubes and added this to the pot (if you want you can grate it and add it at the next stage). Next I grated a peeled raw beetroot (or a couple if they are small) and a smallish peeled carrot and added them to the pot along with a few chopped porcini mushrooms (optional), a few bay leaves, some ground black pepper, half a teaspoon of marmite (yeast extract), and a splash of water, or red wine if you have some open. This will help bring the juices out of the veg. you shouldn’t need to add too much extra liquid. I then covered the casserole dish and simmered it on a low heat for about 10 mins. stirring occasionally.
At this point you can pre-heat your oven to about 190 degrees C / 375 F. I strained the lentils and added them to the casserole and continued to simmer everything, covered, for a few minutes while I mashed the potatoes with a clove of crushed garlic, some pepper and some milk and butter until they were light and fluffy. Next I mixed a couple of tsp of veggie gravy thickener (or you can use cornflour) with some water and added this to the casserole and heated it through. This will thicken the veggie mixture, you don’t want too much liquid but you do want some gravy. I then spooned the mashed potatoes on top and spread them out, with a fork, to seal the pie. The fork ‘lines’ will make the mash nice and crispy on top when it’s cooked. This can then go in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown on top. If you make the pie in advance it will probably need an extra 10-15 mins in the oven to heat through.
While it’s in the oven you can cook some greens, or other veggies of your choice, to go with it. If you like gravy then make some extra gravy to serve with it too. If you don’t have an oven then you can finish the pie off under a grill instead.