Monday, March 20, 2006

Shepherd's Pie with Boca Ground Burger

Shepherd's Pie is a traditional British dish where ground, cooked lamb is covered with a layer of mashed potato and baked until the potato crust if slightly brown and crisp. The dish dates back to the 18 Century and is now commonly made with ground beef. (Technically, the dish with beef is called a Cottage Pie, but it seems to go by Shepherd's Pie these days. There's also a Fisherman's Pie, made with fish).

I've tried a number of recipes over the years, mostly with lentils. It's definitely an attractive dish to reproduce for vegetarians - although a good version is hard to achieve. The lentil versions, while tasty, just don't have the right texture and you've got to serve Shepherd's Pie with ketchup and this doesn't really work with lentils. With all the new fake meat products out there, I decided to try another version with Boca Ground Burger.

The Boca Ground Burger can be found in the freezer section and each box contains three one-cup pouches. A 1/2 cup serving has 0.5g of fat, 0 cholesterol, and 13 g of protein. I used two pouches for two larger individual sized ramekins, which was more than I needed.

One challenge is to get that hearty beefy flavor. I used marmite dissolved in hot water and a little red wine to impart that richness.

How did it taste? It was good and very good once I added ketchup! Don't even think about having this dish without the ketchup - honestly. My main concern was that the Boca Ground Burger would dissolve into a glutinous goo, and, while there was a loss of texture from the 35 minutes of baking, it still had a chewy ground meat texture. It could have been heartier tasting - next time I'll probably add more marmite and red wine. If you're marmite-averse, use soy sauce instead. I also felt mine had too much onion- I'd cut back to 1/2 onion next time. It's not the perfect Veggie Shepherd's Pie recipe to my taste. I'm thinking a combo of Boca Ground Burger and lentils might be my next attempt.

Here's the recipe I used:

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
I large carrot, diced small
1 tsp marmite dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
2 pouches of Boca Ground Burger
1-2 tbsp red wine
salt and pepper
mashed potato

Preheat the oven to 400. Melt the butter is a non-stick pan and fry the onion for 4 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for 4 additional minutes. Add the marmite water, the Boca Ground Burger, the red wine and cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Season and remove from heat.

Butter two individual ramekins (mine are 8" by 5") and fill to 3/4 full with the Boca mixture. Spread or pipe the mashed potatoes over the top until completely covered. Bake for 30-35 minutes. If potatoes are not browned , finish under the broiler.

Serve with ketchup and your green vegetable of choice (peas are good!).

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Blogger Fiber said...

How's the texture of the Boca ground burger? Is it pretty realistic?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Yes, I think it is. If you were going to use it for tacos, in a pasta sauce etc., it would be very meat like.

It lost some of its texture after the long baking time in this recipe, but the texture was still good. Next time, I'll probably crisp the mashed potatoes under the broiler quickly, and skip the baking.

9:17 AM  
Blogger karina said...

I love Shepherd's Pies. You're inspired me once again. I've been living on soups this winter. Right about now I need a change of pace!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

Hi Catherine,

You know I've actually never made shepherd's pie. Your version looks delicious, wholesome and uncomplicated! Thanks for the recipe!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Vegan Knitting said...

I recommend using Yves' Good Round which has a firmer texture than Boca and is nice and chewy. Good flavor, too.

I make a similar version to Catherine's although I add English peas when I can get them and I use a combo of veggie chicken stock cube, vegan worchester, cayenne, and paprika for the seasoning. I generally bake it for about 15-20 minutes and then pop under the broiler until nice and browned.

I posted my recipe when I made a vegan version at Christmas:

Not that you have to alter much to make Catherine's vegan, but I've got a special way of making the mashed potatoes.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi VK,

Thanks for the hints. Here's the link to VK's shepherds pie:
Vegan Knitting Christmas dinner

Check it out!

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Catherine's Mum said...

My mother improved her original recipe by adding ketchup into the meat/veg. (we still added more!)

She just put hers under the grill - she didn't bake it.

11:19 AM  
Blogger bob said...

The only alteration for personal taste I'd do is use Bisto Favourite instead of the Marmite.
The 'Black Gold' is frightfully expensive here and I tend to reserve it for spreading on my toast!

6:48 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I'll have to check out Bisto Favourite. Not sure I've seen that here.


12:11 PM  

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