Pop quiz, hotshot. You’ve got people coming to dinner: Ms. Foodie Italian, Mrs. Foodie Indian-American, and Mr. Foodie Italian-Peruvian-Nerd. Two of them are vegetarian. What do you serve? WHAT do you serve?
Ok, so not exactly as pressing as saving a bus full of screaming passengers with Sandra Bullock at the wheel, but this was still the closest thing to a crisis that I had to deal with last weekend. I was not about to throw down anything Italian, and Indian too–my go-to vegetarian dinner party option–was similarly off the menu. I toyed with Indonesian, given the “I” theme that had developed, but then it got a bit chilly and the idea of gado gado and smoked tofu summer rolls seemed a bit premature.
Instead, at the suggestion of dear friend and PassionFruits Edinburgh correspondent Lady Dae-Dae, I whipped up a lentil-based shepherd’s pie based very loosely on several recipes by Nigel Slater (English foodie institution) and Sophie Dahl (English foodie… something).
Yes, yes, I know I just wrote about my “African” sheperd’s pie, but bracketed by tapenade and goat cheese toasts, fennel apple salad, and a flourless chocolate torte, the lentil-based pie made a perfect, hearty centerpiece to a tasty, veggie-friendly meal that didn’t rely on any of my guest’s native cuisines.
While definitely savory and substantial enough to stand on its own, the shepherd’s pie would also be absolutely stellar as a side for lamb chops… but then, what DOESN’T go with a good lamb chop? In any event, though, it was such a delicious success that Ms. Foodie Italian refused to leave till she’d extracted a promise that I’d share the recipe–which I gladly agreed to, with the warning that I’d have to write it down first!