Try out this dish as an alternative to traditional cottage pie, which uses minced beef for the base. Lentils are a great alternative to meat – cheap, versatile, filling, very low in fat and full of vitamins A and C
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic
1 medium white onion
1 large carrot
1 tin chopped tomatoes
100g brown lentils
150 ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
Salt and black pepper
For the topping:
1 ½ lbs potatoes
Knob of butter
1. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion
2. Wash the rest of the vegetables and chop into chunks
3. Heat roughly a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook for around 2 minutes, until they begin to soften
4. Rinse the lentils in a sieve with cold water then add to the pan along with the rest of the vegetables, the chopped tomatoes, stock and tomato puree. Stir well and season with a little salt and pepper.
5. Cover and simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. The lentils will absorb some of the stock as they cook, so check the pan regularly in case the mixture dries out. If it starts to look dry, add a little water, but not too much as the mixture needs to be firm enough to hold the potato topping.
6. While the lentils are simmering, peel wash and chop the potatoes into chunks. Boil in a pan of lightly salted water for around 20 minutes, or until soft.
7. Drain the potatoes, then return to the pan. Add a dash of milk, the butter and season with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes until smooth and put to one side until the lentil mixture is ready
8. When ready, transfer the lentil mixture to an over proof dish and top with the potato. Grill on a medium heat until the top is brown and crisp and serve!
Serve with a green salad