A hearty vegan twist on a Shepard's Pie. A great dish to cook for guests and just as delicious the next day.
You can opt to use normal milk and beef broth if you would like more of a rich taste. Personally have not tried it but I think it would work.
Set the potatoes and parsnips in a large pot and cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 25-35 mins, until very tender.
While the potatoes and parsnips are cooking, combine 3 cups of water and the lentils in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender and the water has been absorbed (30-35 mins)(add water if needed to obtain desired tenderness). Remove from heat and set aside.
You will have a good 20 mins to do some food prep here.
Once the potatoes and parsnips are very tender, drain the water and return the potatoes and parsnips in the pot. Add milk, 2 tablespoons of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash the goods with a potato masher or the bottom of a mason jar until creamy. You may add up to 1/3 cup of milk for more creaminess if desired. Cover and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are golden and translucent, 8-10 mins.
Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Stir in mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
Pour in red wine and bring to a simmer. Scrape the pan for all the goodie bits and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been reduced by half.
Add the lentils, rosemary, thyme and vegetable broth and simmer for 3 mins, stirring frequently. Add more broth if needed to keep the mixture moist but not liquid-y. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The unused broth is great to cook rice with)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Spread the lentil and vegetable mixture into a large baking dish in an even layer. Add the potato-parsnip mash and gently layer it over the mix. Layer to desired thickness, the mash is great on its own as well if any leftover.
Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for a couple of minutes to get a nice slighty golden brown layer on top. Serve hot.