It is a cold and rainy Winter's day. I have had this lentil pie baking in the oven. It's savoury moreish-ness is mouth watering and somehow I feel warmer inside. Maybe it is the memory of growing up on this kind of food - wholesome and full of umami flavour (although I don't think anyone knew about umami back then). If you haven't used tamari before, do yourself a favour and buy a bottle - I am rarely without it in the kitchen. The addition of dulse flakes (or alternative seaweed) is completely optional, however adds an extra depth of flavour that I enjoy. You otherwise won't know it is there.
Lentil and potato bake recipe
Serves 6- 8
1 cup whole lentils (Australian blue are my favourite as they hold their shape well, whole red lentils are also a good option)
1 bay leaf
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery sticks, peeled and finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
680mL bottle of passata or 2 tins of whole peeled tomatoes
750ml vege stock
2 tbs tamari
1 tsp dulse flakes (optional)
6 large potatoes
100mL cream (optional)
+ extra vege stock for potatoes
100g cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Boil the rinsed lentils in a saucepan with the bay leaf until al dente. Drain, remove the bay leaf, and set aside. (This step will save a lot of cooking time, however if you are not in a hurry you can use uncooked lentils below).
3. In a large heavy based frying pan that can go in the oven, saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the celery, garlic and zucchini and saute for a further few minutes until softening. Add the carrot, tomatoes, lentils, and half of the vege stock and simmer, adding more stock as required as it is absorbed. It takes about 30 minutes. Add the tamari and then salt and pepper to taste.
4. Whilst the lentil mix is cooking, boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain, place back in the saucepan and add butter and a splash of vege stock. Mash until creamy. Add a little cream if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Try not to eat it all.
5. Once the lentil mix is ready, top with the mashed potato and grated cheese. A final crack of pepper and then into the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown and delicious.
Serve warm with a sharp green salad. It makes an excellent left over lunch the next day so I wouldn't bother making a smaller batch.