I feel American just making this recipe. You don’t usually catch us English putting pecans on top of their shepherds pie, let alone maple syrup! Scandalous though it may be, it’s a damn tasty one. This recipe has a perfect combination of sweet and savoury potted into a huge casserole dish of home comforts.
It’s autumn (or fall I should say in reference to this recipe), so the hearty, warming dishes are arriving onto the food blogs, as are the pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squashes. I don’t know about your appetite, but mine craves substantial dinners that I just wanna put my face in and eat the entire dish to myself. Then again, I am a very hungry herbivore 100% of the time. One of the heartiest traditional English dishes is the Shepherds pie. Not usually vegan, instead filled with mince meat. To substitute that, I have used soya mince (frozen), which I always thought was nicer than the real stuff anyway – I mean, it looks like worms! On top of the pie is generally creamy mashed potato, which has been changed up here with spiced sweet potato mash. My inspiration for this was the American sweet potato casserole. I hadn’t tried this dish before, but it sounded to me like my boring English shepherds pie could be spiced up with this on top – how right I was. Since this is a creamy, casserole dish, the pecans lent a great hand in adding some crunchy texture to the pallet, so whatever you do, don’t think the pecans are optional in this dish. Don’t make that mistake; your taste buds won’t be pleased with you.
Since Thanksgiving is coming up for you guys over in Canada and the US, this is a great recipe to throw onto the table! Don’t let the cooking time put you off. The dish takes minimal effort, the oven and the hob are doing the work for you here, leaving you time to make some other fantastic dishes to go along side like: Festive French Toast Casserole or Cheesy Potato Croquettes ! Mm!
Try the recipe and let me know what you think! Much love x
- 4 cups vegan soya mince (frozen variety)
- 2 red onions, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 (400g) can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp. vegan margarine
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt & pepper
- dash of non-dairy milk
- 1 cup pecans
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- Pre heat the oven 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
- Prick the potatoes with a fork and cook in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until soft and tender on the inside.
- In the meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan and add the onions and carrots on med-high heat. Fry till the onions start to brown.
- Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the tomato puree brown sugar. Stir together.
- Pour in the tomatoes, mince, stock and put in the bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.
- In the meanwhile, place the pecans, maple syrup, smoked paprika and salt in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, reduce the oven temp to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4, remove the skins and place in a bowl along with the marg, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, pepper and milk. Mash together until no lumps.
- Pour the soy mince into a large casserole dish, spread the sweet potato on top to cover the filling and spread over the pecans.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the pecan are golden.