Gateau of Roasted Vegetables, Root Vegetable Bake and Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie were all contenders for the name of this dish. But I dropped Root Vegetable Bake because it sounded like a frozen dinner and Gateau of Roasted Vegetables because I thought the pretentious name might put people off trying it. So in the end! decided the mental picture that is painted by calling it Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie worked best. You will need a large ovenproof dish for this.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)
650g (1lb 10oz)baby plum tomatoes
200g (8oz)swede, peeled
150g (6oz)carrots, peeled
(8oz)200g sweet potatoes, peeled
1 bag of spinach washed
5tbsp tomato passata
1kg (2.2lb) potatoes, peeled and diced
10Og (4oz)Stilton or blue cheese
2Tbsp olive oil
1 Large clove garlic
- Preheat the oven to 120C/250F/gas mark 1/2.
- Cut plum tomatoes in half and spread them out onto a shallow baking tray. Then rub then lightly with 1/2tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper then place in the oven on the lowest shelf for one hour, until they are dehydrated.
- Dice the carrot, swede and sweet potatoes roughly, then fry in remaining olive oil until they’re lightly browned, season, then transfer them to the oven and cook until they are tender.
- In the meantime boil the potatoes and unpeeled garlic until tender, then drain well. Remove the garlic and return the potatoes to the saucepan.
- Place on low heat and stir for two to three minutes to dry out the potatoes, then remove from the heat and mash the potatoes well before adding the butter and a little salt and pepper.
- Wilt spinach in a dry wok or frying pan, then remove from the heat and drain well, squeezing out any water, then season.
7. Spoon roasted vegetables into the serving dish and press them down.
8. Combine the dehydrated tomatoes with the tomato passata in a small saucepan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, season.
9. Now pour the tomato mixture on top of the roasted vegetables and follow that with a layer of spinach.
10. Crumble up the Stilton cheese into small size “crumbs” and sprinkle over the spinach.
11. Top with the mashed potatoes using a piping bag or spoon, making sure the spinach is covered completely. If you didn’t use a piping bag use a fork to decorate the potato.
12. Brown the potato under a hot grill or in the oven and serve.
If you want to save time you can substitute the baby plum tomatoes with sun blushed tomatoes(which is basically tomatoes that have already been dehydrated for you).
I add some additional decoration to this dish by deep frying some carrot and parsnips strips. You can do this with any root vegetable, just peel thinly using a potato peeler. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and lay on sheets of paper towel. The salt draws the moisture out thus making them crisper when fried.It also adds the additional contrast of texture to the dish. *You need to fry the parsnips separately because they may brown quicker. Both vegetables with still be a little less than crisp when you remove them from the oil, but they crisp up as they drain. The idea is to cook the vegetable just until they start to brown very slightly.
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