Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shepherdess Pie

I decided to combine a few different recipes to make this shepherdess pie and I used cauliflower millet mash for the crust instead of mashed potatoes to add extra nutrition. I will admit that this isn't one of those quick and easy recipes that I'm so fond of. I think the prep time was about an hour, and I used quite a lot of pots and pans in the process. I had some rare free time and was up for a challenge. The lentils and millet both needed about half an hour to cook, so I was able to work on both the millet mash and the pie contents at the same time.

Millet is a very small, round grain with a history that traces back thousands of years. It was the chief grain in China before rice became popular, and continues to sustain people in Africa, China, Russia, and India, among other places. It is an extremely nutritious and hardy crop that grows well under harsh or dry conditions, both of which contribute to its widespread use and popularity around the world. Millet is gluten-free and contains silica, which helps keeps bones flexible in aging process. It is high in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, B vitamins and fiber. It also contains serotonin and help calm your nerves. Millet is soothing and warming, and can help indigestion and morning sickness. Millet can be used in porridges, cereal, soups and dense breads. It is delicious wheat-free substitution for couscous, as it has a similar consistency. In parts of Africa, millet is fermented to make beer.

Shepherdess Pie with Cauliflower Millet Mash Crust

Millet Mash
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup plain unsweetened rice milk

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add millet and salt. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook for about 3 minutes. Add cauliflower and broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and cook until very tender, about 12 minutes. Add millet, remaining oil and rice milk to the cauliflower and mash together with a potato masher or process with an immersion blender until creamy, adding more rice milk if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shepherdess Pie
1 cup lentils, rinse and picked over for stones
3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup peas, frozen or canned
1/2 teaspoon savory
1/2 teaspoon thyme
a pinch marjoram

Preheat oven to 350.

Add lentils to water, bring to a boil and let cook until lentils are tender, about half an hour. Sauté onion in oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms and cook for about 5 or 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, peas and spices. Add lentils to the mixture once they are cooked. Spread the mixture in a 13" x 19" casserole dish and top with cauliflower millet mash. Sprinkle with paprika. Cook for half an hour.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute any ingredient you don't like for one you do. If you don't like lentils, you can use kidney beans. If you don't like peas, you can use corn.

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