Indian vegetable pie

This hearty veggie version of shepherd’s pie smells as good as it tastes

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Serves: 6-8

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

2 carrots, diced

2 parsnips, diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

200g green lentils

2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, grated

1½–2 tbsp mild curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

400g tin crushed tomatoes

1 vegetable stock cube

2 heaped tbsp tomato purée

freshly ground black pepper

For the sweet potato topping:

4-5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp butter

100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

1 Heat the oil in a large casserole dishover a medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and parsnips and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes until softened.

2 Chop three garlic cloves and stir into the casserole with the lentils, ginger and spices. Pour in the tomatoes then fill the can with water and add to the pan. Do this twice. Bring to the boil, crumble in the stock cube and add the tomato purée. Stir, part-cover with a lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.

3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/R7. To make the topping, boil the sweet potatoes with the garlic cloves for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan to dry on the turned-off stovetop. Add the butter and half the cheese. Mash until smooth.

4 Season the sauce with pepper and check the flavouring, adding more curry powder if needed. Using a stick/immersion blender, partially purée the sauce – you want a combination of chunky and smooth and not too liquidised. If the sauce is too runny, cook it without the lid until it reduces down.

5 Spoon the mash on top of the sauce in the pan (alternatively spoon the sauce in to an ovenproof dish and top with the mash). Scatter over the remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is starting to crisp and turn golden.

Recipe and image courtesy of Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids by Nicola Graimes © Nicola Graimes 2016 published by Nourish Books, London, Paperback, £12.99

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