For people who do not like certain types of meat (such as minced meat), or people who don’t eat meat at all, soy chunks are really the best alternative! For the past few weeks I have been very busy recreating the flavour of certain traditional dishes without using meat. And the secret is to season the soy chunks and the dish well.
Another secret is that with many types of vegetarian sauces you can mimic the taste of sauces that contain meat or fish! Take Worcestershire sauce, for example, which you can easily recreate with soy sauce and hoisin. Who would have thought that? In any case, I don’t, and now I can’t live without it!
Today I want to present with you my own version of the shepherd’s pie, a dish originally made with lamb and vegetables from the farm. But I have never really been a fan of the taste and smell of lamb and therefore never really of this dish. I used to make it more often with normal minced meat, but that was not quite the same. Until this Healthy January I never thought of trying it again with soy chunks!
But now I have found out that you can use soy chunks for a shepherd’s pie very well, and that it is very tasty without meat. Now that I’ve been able to make my own version of shepherd’s pie that’s completely vegetarian, I’m definitely a big fan! And my parents-in-law, and my father and Luis are also big fans of it. When others enjoy eating my dishes, that makes me a happy person!
About seven years ago I was very busy trying out oven dishes and cooking dishes with mashed and other kinds of potatoes. I really liked that. I’ve had more of these phases in my culinary life. As a result, and because I have worked with very different dishes in different kitchens, I have been able to gain a lot of knowledge of different ingredients and methods.
I also learned a lot of new recipes by cooking with friends. That is an activity that I miss very much. Certainly if you have worked in a restaurant kitchen, cooking is something you do together with others. It brings people together in a fun way. I also picked up this shepherd’s pie at one of those cooking evenings together with others, but with minced lamb.
When a Marks & Spencer branch was opened in the Kalvertoren in Amsterdam, I found out that they were selling shepherd’s pie with regular ground meat. So when I was in the area I always had to stop by to get a few servings. I was often too lazy to make shepherd’s pies myself, even though they are so simple to make.
Super simple and easy to make, shepherd’s pie is one of the most eaten pies in the world. The advantage of the preparation method is that you can use frozen vegetables very easily. You usually already have most of the spices in it at your disposal. So knowing that, it’s so easy that you actually have no excuse not to make this dish, right?
To make a sauce that best resembles Worcestershire sauce, I used soy sauce and hoisin. Together these two give a much deeper flavour and I was completely satisfied with them! I could make this shepherd’s pie more often without meat, because I really don’t miss that real minced meat in this dish. And do you know what another advantage of this version is? Dishes without meat have a much longer shelf life, so you can cook ahead longer, or eat your leftovers later. Well, let’s get cooking then, friends. Time to get your minds blown!
By the way, in this recipe I’m also sharing my own mashed potatoes with you guys, because I’m in a good mood this Monday! And so you also know a little bit what to expect with the recipes in the book! The variant of this pie with meat will also be in my book!
With these amounts of ingredients I made two pies, one in a bowl of 20cm and another of 15cm. I like to make round pies so you can use large spoons to scoop out portions, instead of having to make square pieces. You can also make smaller portions, but don’t forget to keep the ratio between the filling and the mash the same: 2 fingers of filling requires about 3 fingers of mashed potatoes.
- 125 gr soy chunks
- 2 carrots, cut in half slices
- 3 tablespoons of paprika powder
- 1 onion, cut into cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 can of peas, drained
- 2 celery, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon of thyme
- 1 tablespoon of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 stock cube
- 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons parsley, dried
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of hoisin
- 200 ml of water
Puree, the one and only
- 1 kilo of potatoes
- 250 gr cream
- 50 gr butter
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 2 teaspoons of white pepper
- salt as desired
- Parmesan cheese
- a little melted butter
First, soak the soy chunks in a large bowl with plenty of lukewarm water. In the meantime, you can get started cutting your vegetables. Place a large frying pan with olive oil on the fire, add the onions and let them fry for a few minutes.
Drain the soy chunks, rinse them well under cold water and squeeze out excess moisture as best you can. Then add the soy chunks to the pan along with 1 tablespoon of paprika. Stir well and mix in the rest of the paprika until it is completely absorbed by the soy chunks.
Add salt and pepper to the pan and a little olive oil. Let it bake for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, don’t forget to taste the soy chunks every now and then to see if the taste is the way you want. In the meantime, it is also time to add the garlic.
Then add the thyme, rosemary, parsley as well. If the pan is getting dry you can also add a little extra oil. It is important that the soy chunks fry well in order to eventually get the right texture.
In a small bowl, combine the hoisin, soy sauce and tomato puree and gradually add this mixture to the soy chunk mix. Then add the vegetables.
Let it all simmer well together until the carrots start to soften. Then add the water, stock cube and bay leaves. Stir everything together for a few minutes and then lower the heat. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, you have time to make your mash!
Peel your potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise. Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water and bring the water and potatoes to the boil. Cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes, until soft. Then drain the potatoes and let them cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat the cream and butter in a pan. Bring them to a boil together and then turn off the heat immediately. Quickly add your herbs and salt and stir well.
Now preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Start crumbling the potatoes with a pestle. Add the butter and cream mix to the potatoes gradually while stirring. You can make the puree as fine or crumbly as you want. I always opt for a crumbly puree, otherwise I don’t like it. When you have the puree the way you want, all you have to do is add spices to taste.
Now the assembling the shepherd’s pie begins: Grab an oven dish. Spread a layer of the filling about two fingers deep over the bottom of the dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Press the puree well so that you are sure that almost nothing can overflow! Melt a little butter while making a pattern in the top of the puree with a fork. Grate some Parmesan cheese on top and use a brush to spread the melted butter over the puree.
Place your pie in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and get crispy. Let the pie cool down a bit before serving. Serve a delicious fresh lettuce with the pie to finish it off completely. Voilà, a traditional soy chunks recipe, who would have thought?
I like to put the puree at least 2 to 3 fingers high, because it is nice to have a whole bite of puree together with the filling mix. Moreover, it also remains easy to brag without everything falling apart. And I can promise you that I often have to make this recipe twice because my dad and louse think it’s too good to eat it just once. But that is of course not bad at all, because this recipe is so simple and delicious!
When cooking with meat substitutes, I am always amazed at how simple it is to use them in a traditional recipe. Play a little with the spices and use a few other sauces and you’ll get there!
And that is exactly what I want to show you all: how simple vegetarian or vegan cooking is! Hopefully it will help you too, because my aim is to show people how tasty and simple cooking can be.
Have a great week, friends, and see you again soon!
Do you have a classic that you like to cook veggie? Or do you have a few secret sauces that you can’t live without? If you want to share it with me, please! Who knows what fun could come out, right?