Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dr. Jack Shephard's Pie

I know the series "Lost" is long gone now. Probably forgotten by most. I was bitter about how it all ended and how much of my time was invested in that show. Bitterness turned to hunger, so here we are. A shepherd's pie good enough for Jack. And if not, his whiny ass can starve. Fine, go eat a can of Dharma Initiative refried beans, Jack!

Dr. Jack Shephard's Pie


4-5 pks Tempeh (boiled for 10-15 minutes), crumbled
2 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Earth Balance (or your favorite vegan margarine)
3 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)
2-3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 3-4 sprigs worth of fresh thyme)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (1 sprig worth of fresh marjoram)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (2 teaspoons of fresh oregano leaves)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary needles)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon poultry spice
Up to 2 cups of veggie broth (or mix a few tablespoons of faux chicken broth powder with water)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Mashed Potato Topping

6-8 medium potatoes (I like yukon gold, red or russet)
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 cup cashew cream or unsweetened plain soymilk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Prepare your taytoes (skin on or skin off, whatever floats your boat) and set them in a large pot filled with cold water and a large pinch of sea salt. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Avoid over cooking. You don't want water logged taters. At this point, I throw in my blocks of tempeh and cook them in the same water with the potatoes. Now that's what I call efficient!

While the potatoes are cooking, dice your other stuff up.

In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil and drop in your onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes) avoid browning them. Add a little salt to sweat them out. When the onions are cooked, drop in your mushrooms and cook those down a little. Drop in the celery, carrots, dried herbs and spices. Continue cooking for another 4 minutes. We really want to get the mushrooms to cook down as much as possible. They will be adding a lot of the meaty flavor to this shiz. Once things are looking good, add some Earth Balance, let it melt, then drop in your crumbled up tempeh. Add your flour and coat things evenly with the flour. We are going to spend a lot of time here getting some brownness in. Basically we want to make a roux so we can get a good gravy. Continue stirring things around, browning your tempeh and the flour coating. This takes a good 8-10 minutes. Once all the tempeh is golden brown and delicious, you will pour in some stock or water, worcestershire and tamari/soy sauce. Get things to a simmer, you'll see it thicken up. If it gets too thick for your liking, add more liquid. Conversely, if stuff is not thick enough, continue to simmer until some liquid evaporates. If you're using fresh herbs, now is a good time to toss those in. Keep stirring. Oh and hey, be sure to check your potatoes. You should probably turn the oven on too. 375 degrees!

Once taters are cooked, turn off heat, drain and put back into stock pot. Put the stock pot on the lowest heat, drop in the Earth Balance, add the potatoes and mash with a masher. Don't over work them or they'll get gummy. We want fluffy! Stir in cashew cream or soymilk, season with nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, pepper and taste for sale. Don't fuss with them too much. Just get them to the right consistency and thickness and leave em on low heat. Go check on your gravy.

Stir in the frozen peas into your gravy. The gravy should be all nice and brown. If you want more brown, you could add browning sauce, but I'm weirded out by that stuff. Sodium Benzoate doesn't belong in my food. Pour this hot mess into a large rectangular casserole dish (Pyrex types are wonderful). Top with your taters. You could also top the potatoes with grated vegan cheese. Place in preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 mins until bubbly, browned and lightly crisped on edges. Serve hot, garnish with fresh thyme sprig or fresh minced parsley.

Done! Eat up!