It’s human nature to crave comfort food. When times are rough, when you’ve got the weekday blues or simply when you’re reminiscing about the past, those home comforts are what we reach out for. Now that I no longer live with my parents (thank goodness for that!) I’m left to my own devices in every way, and cooking is one of those.
At this point you’re probably assuming I’m going to tell you that my mother made the best shepherds pie ever- actually, it was okay. Hands down, she’s a pro at Indian food, way better than me, but anything else, well it lacks a certain oomph.
Evidently I believe that my version of this classic English dish is superior to hers (which it is), but the essence of the dish itself reminds me of Sunday afternoons with my fam. That rich gravy I could smell from my bedroom, a fragrance that would pull me into the kitchen, my mum standing over the oven with her mits, ready to get the pie out so that the rest of us could feast on it whilst watching The Simpsons on channel 4 followed by the longest chain of consecutive rounds of Boggle and then a final game of Scrabble (my family loves their word games.
Before I go on to the recipe, I’d just like to add that I used the dried soya mince that my parents would usually have a bag of in the pantry. I can’t really remember it ever tasting spectacular so I gave myself the challenge to make it more than just tolerable in my pie.
- 300g dried soya mince
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 200g sweetcorn
- 200g peas
- 250g mushrooms sliced
- 3 carrots diced
- 1-2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp vegetable stock powder such as Swiss Vegetable Bouillon made up with 1 litre water
- 6 large sweet potatoes mashed
- 2 tbsp oil
- Sweat the onions and garlic in the hot oil.
- Add the mushrooms, peas, sweetcorn and carrots and allow to soften, around 5 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch to the stock and mix until smooth before pouring into the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.
- Continue to mix until gravy thickens (add more stock or starch if necessary).
- Pour into a casserole dish and spread the mashed potato evenly over the surface, being careful not to let it sink in.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 25 minutes.
Get ready to think of home with each mouthful- well if you’re from England I guess the memories of home are more relevant!