Mary Berry's Vegetable and Lentil Cottage Pie Recipe
Warm up with this mouth-watering vegetarian lentil cottage pie recipe from Mary Berry the Queen of Cooks!
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into about 1cm cubes
- 200g piece of swede, chopped into about 1cm cubes
- 125g dried red lentils
- 400g can plum tomatoes
- 1 tbs sun-dried tomato paste
- 350ml vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 85g fresh spinach, chopped
- 900g smooth potatoes, such as Desiree, peeled and cut into large chunks, about 5cm
- 30g butter
- 5 tablespoons full-fat or semi-skimmed milk140g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, non-stick sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic and fry for 8-10 minutes over a medium-high heat or until starting to turn golden, stirring occasionally. Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the pan, tip in the carrots and swede, and fry for 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, and stock. Season and simmer, covered, for 35-40 minutes over a low heat, until the carrots and swede are tender and the lentils have softened.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the spinach, and let it wilt. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C/400F/Gas 6).
- Put the potatoes into a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, add salt, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Put the butter and milk in the pan and warm through over a low heat. Remove from the heat, return the potatoes to the pan, and mash with the milk and butter, then whisk until smooth. Season, then stir in the cheese.
- Spread the mash over the filling. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Moist, juicy filling
- The filling should be moist with plenty of sauce, but not sloppy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if it’s too dry. Leave the filling to cool before adding the topping, as it will support the mash better.
Smooth, creamy mash
- The potatoes are ready for mashing when a knife goes in easily. If undercooked, the mash will be lumpy; if overcooked, it will be sloppy. Mash the potatoes with hot milk and butter off the heat, then whisk with a balloon whisk.
- Spoon the cheesy, seasoned mash over the cooled vegetable and lentil layer. Spread it evenly over the surface, making patterns like furrows with a round-bladed knife to create an attractive, textured effect.