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Spicy Shepherd's Pie au Gratin


This recipe is very hearty and is surprisingly quick and easy to make.

Buttery Mashed Potatoes Topping:

. 4 large russet potatoes (about 3-4 pounds)

. 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

. 1 cup 2% milk

Cut potatoes into 3" chunks. Boil in 6-8 cups of filtered water until fork tender. Drain potatoes, reserving potato water.

Remove potato skins and reserve. Add the butter and milk and mash until completely smooth. Add salt & black pepper to taste. Put aside.

For the Filling:

. 6 oz baby carrots, steamed and diced

. 4 large parsnips, steamed and sliced thinly

. 4 tbs olive oil

. 2 10-oz packages of seitan chunks

. 2 red onions, peeled and diced

. 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced

. 4-6 large white mushrooms, sliced

. 2-3 tbs white miso

. 6 oz frozen petite peas

. 4-6 tbs sliced jalapeňos

. 2 tbs Kary's Dark Dry Roux Mix

. 2 tbs Tony Chacere's Brown Gravy Mix

. 3 oz Havarti Cheese, grated

. 4 oz Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated

Cut seitan into 1-1/2" chunks. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil. Stir in one-half of the seitan and sauté until browned. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon. Repeat process with remaining seitan and remove from skillet.

Sauté 2 chopped, red onions and 1 head of garlic, minced, until lightly carmelized in 1 tbs of the oil. Stir in 4 coarsely chopped, sweated mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release their liquid. Return seitan to the skillet and mix thoroughly.

In a bowl, add 2 cups of reserved potato water and 2 tbs white miso. Mix thoroughly and add to the filling mixture.

Add 6 oz chopped, steamed baby carrots; 4 steamed, sliced parsnips; and 6 oz frozen peas, microwaved 2 minutes. Add chopped jalapeños and chopped, reserved potato skins. Mix thoroughly.

Stir 4 tbs Kary's Dark Dry Roux Mix into 1 cup of reserved potato water, stir until completely smooth, and add to filling mix.

Prepare Tony Chacere's Brown Gravy Mix, using 1 cup of the reserved potato water and 2 tbs of the gravy mix, simmering until thick and bubbly. Add to filling mix.

Add frozen peas and Jalapeňos. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables turn slightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Line pie pan with parchment paper. Spoon filling into lined pie pan. Scoop mashed potatoes into balls and lightly pile on top of filling for a fluffy topping with lots of peaks for browning. Bake in 425° oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are nicely browned, then remove. Sprinkle 3 oz Havarti and 4 oz grated extra sharp white cheddar on top. Return to oven for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly & browning. Let set up for 15-20 minutes. Serve.

Notes:

This can be made with other veggies of choice (cauliflower, turnips, broccoli, etc), but the carrots and parsnips add a sweetness that rounds out and balancesthe spiceness for a full-bodied robust flavor!