Friday, January 23, 2009

Shepherd’s Pie: Gluten Free Lacto-Vegetarian with Milk Free/Vegan Option

Being an Irish girl, my favorite comfort food is Shepherd's Pie. It is the perfect dish for a cold wintry night. I am very picky about Shepherd's Pie. The only restaurant I found that serves an honestly good Shepherd's Pie is at Matt Murphy's Pub in Brookline, Massachusetts (including surveying restaurants in the UK). Last year I was faced with a culinary challenge on top of the whole gluten free thing; one of our guests was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. No lamb? I wanted to make sure that I was not "cheating" him by giving him an anemic version of what most cooks/chefs would do. He deserved something comparable that was meaty and savory as well as being a complete protein. This recipe I developed hit the spot so much so that all the guests had to help themselves to a portion of it in addition to the lamb version.

Working on a recent assignment for my Personal Chef Principles on recipe development, I pulled this one out. Then one of my girlfriends was looking for a recipe and this one fit the bill. This one's for you, Brinda and Chef Lapasky!


Stew Ingredients:
1 container of Firm Tofu
½ cup Potato Starch
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable Oil
3 large Portabella Mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
¼ tsp ground Cayenne Pepper
1 tbspn Maple Syrup
1 bottle Redbridge GF Beer
2 Bay Leaves
1 cup Button Mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
½ cup peas

Whipped Potatoes Ingredients:
2 lbs potatoes
½ stick butter / smart balance / milk-free margarine
½ cup milk / rice milk / soy milk
Salt & white pepper to taste
Parsley, for garnish



1. Turn on broiler. Cut up tofu into 1/2” cubes and place on cookie sheet. Broil until golden (3-5 minutes); flip, & repeat.

2. Season the potato starch with salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Toss the portabellas with starch mixture in bowl, until evenly coated.

3. Warm a large, 12”, skillet and add oil over medium-high heat. Brown the portabellas & flour mixture in the skillet, until the coating is browned on both sides. Remove from heat.

4. Place portabellas into a slow cooker or a large (3-4qt) sauce pan; put on low heat.

5. Cook onions in the skillet on medium heat until transparent; remove and add onions to meat.

6. Add the carrots, beer, mushrooms, and rosemary to the portabellas and onions and stir until thoroughly mixed on low heat. Also add in the cayenne, maple syrup, and bay leaves.

7. Cook covered with occasional stirring for at least 2 hours.

8. 30 minutes before removing stew from heat, add in the peas. Start working on the potatoes . . .


1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1” cubes. Boil with salt until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes well.

2. Place potatoes into a large mixing bowl and add in butter by small pats, while potatoes are still hot.

3. Using a hand-mixer beat the potatoes on low until smooth. Add in any remaining butter, salt, and white pepper to taste. Increase mixer speed to medium speed, and beat until smoother. Slowly all milk with low mixing speed; increase mixing speed to make fluffy. Add more milk if needed to make creamier.


1. Turn on broiler.

2. Using oven-safe casserole dish (individual soufflé dishes or 1 large dish), place stew to fill dish half full, and smooth out making sure it is evenly distributed.

3. Place potatoes on top and carefully spread out to cover the top of the stew.

4. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

5. Place under broiler for about 5 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


Jill said...

This sounds really good! I have a 3 year old who I cook gluten & dairy free for. It is a challenge but it is good to find other people who understand and who make this type of diet enjoyable! I'll be checking back -


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this!
I'm so wishing I had the ingredients at home for this one today.
Maybe I'll brave the elements and make a Keller's run...

Unknown said...

None of my business - but you want to display an ordered list. I could hand code this for you but a simple way to remove your displayed code is to go into the code and remove only the [ & ] brackets. If you than save and refresh your page F5 key, your lists should look okay.
I thank you for this blog. I am a Celiac and it has had a huge negative affect on my life because it went untreated for 8 years. Damage done!
Take care...

Erin Swing said...

Hi Nick - You are right that HTML is not my business! :P I could not find what you where referring to, but maybe I will then I know what you're talking about.

Thanks everyone for finding my blog, reading it, and finding something in it for you! It makes me very happy!