Our vegetarian version of Shepherd's Pie was always good at the cafe, but it reached its optimum in flavor when one of the cafe cooks added tofu to the recipe. The missing link provided more texture, taste, and protein to the pie.
5 cups mashed potatoes (about 4 medium-sized unpeeled potatoes)
3 tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ plus 1/8 teaspoon black
¼ cup minced fresh
½ cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion (3 small onions)
2 teaspoons basil
1 ½ teaspoons tarragon
2 cups chopped broccoli, stems and florets, or sliced zucchini
1 cup chopped green pepper (1 large pepper)
1 square tofu ( ½ pound) plus 2 tablespoons oil or 1 cup cooked chick peas
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 ¼ cups sour cream
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons butter, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, parsley, and cream cheese and set aside.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, basil, and 1 teaspoon tarragon, along with broccoli or zucchini.
A few minutes later, add green pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. When vegetables are tender but not overcooked, set aside. Add tofu or chick peas to vegetable mix. (If you are using tofu, cut into ½ -inch cubes, sauté in oil until firm, and then add to vegetables.) Mix well. Pour into 9 x 13-inch pan or casserole dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Sauté the mushrooms and remaining ½ teaspoon tarragon. Remove from heat and stir in corn and sour cream. Layer on top of the vegetables. Then layer on potatoes, then grated cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake covered 30 minutes at 350° and uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, until browned a bit on top. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.