Public service announcement to spammers: Your comments aren't going through. Blogger's spam filters work wonders. They're still sent to my inbox, though, and I chuckle over the vague, nonsensical comments complete with links to sites I'm too afraid to ever click.
In August, I developed a recipe for BeeWell For Life's blog, Bee Nutritious. Why did I create a winter-appropriate comfort dish in the middle of hell? I must have been in need of comfort, and once I came up with the idea I couldn't get it out of my mind. I was also wishing for fall, which is also why I had a pumpkin spice latte the first week of September when it was still 80°. Now that it's fall-ish, or now that I'm blogging again, it's appropriate to talk about this recipe.
Shepherd's pie is is traditionally made with ground lamb, though I have only ever used either beef or turkey. This time, I used lentils and portobello mushrooms. While the lentils cooked, I blanched the peppers and prepared the gravy, which is a mixture of onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasonings, and beef broth.
To vegetarianize the recipe, you'll need to sub the beef broth with another liquid - I think mushroom broth would work well. I also used Worcestershire sauce, so you'll have to find a substitute, such as Annie's Naturals, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and the like. Don't forget the butter and milk in the recipe, too.
What I like the most is the presentation. Instead of a blob of deliciousness on a plate, which isn't very photogenic, you can present your guests with their very own stuffed pepper festooned with pillowy mounds of mashed potatoes. But if you don't want to bother with the peppers, just layer it in a baking dish and cook until the potatoes are golden. I was happy with the heartiness and flavor of the filling and would have eaten it alone had it just been for myself. That good.
I would like to give a quick shout-out to BeeWell for the awesome hat they sent me as a thank you gift that I've been wearing when I run.
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Lentil Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe by Christina Provo
4 green bell peppers
1 pound mini red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup 1% milk, warmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cup cooked lentils
- Preheat oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; fill a large mixing bowl with very cold water and set aside. While water boils, prepare bell peppers by slicing off the tops and scooping out the seeds and veins with your hands. Level the bottoms if necessary so the peppers stand upright. Once water has come to a boil, place as many peppers as will fit in the pot and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the peppers to the bowl of cold water. Repeat with remaining peppers if needed.
- Place the potatoes in another pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, then add back to the pot to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Mash in a large bowl. Stir in warmed milk, melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until smooth. Cover and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When warm, saute carrot, onion, and garlic for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and saute to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top of vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully pour in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a bubbling simmer and stir in lentils. Cook for 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens.
- Spray a 10-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Remove peppers from water and pat dry; place in dish. Divide lentil mixture evenly between peppers. Top with mashed potatoes, smoothing the sides. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are a light golden brown and peppers are tender.