Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cottage Pie à la Soup-Mix

Today’s recipe is real clean-out-the-cupboard material. I have rows of jars full of dried legumes, peas, and seeds, and brown paper bags of potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and garlic. Even though the solstice has passed, and the days are getting longer, it’s still pretty cold hereabouts, and I’m still all about the comfort food. Before the weekend, I’d soaked a heap of my pulses, and strung them up to sprout for a few days, and it was high time they were used. Originally, this was a big-ass stuff-up. The plan was lentil burgers. Unfortunately, after cooking and mashing the potato base, I added them straight to the still-raw pulse mix. Rather than despair, I threw it all into a baking dish, and aimed for potato bake. The result was more like cottage pie, and it was delicious! This recipe is from the second attempt, which was just as good, if better planned!
Declarations: Today’s post structure inspired by @dr_krystal. If you’re on twitter, she’s the science bomb!

•    4-6 large potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped
•    1 onion, finely diced
•    Two cloves garlic, finely chopped
•    1 ½ cups soaked & sprouted soup mix (Pearl barley, lentils, split peas)
•    1 cup soaked & sprouted chickpeas
•    1 ¼ cup full-cream milk or alt-milk
•    2 tablespoons gluten-free plain flour
•    1 tablespoon butter
•    A Pinch Garam masala spice blend (or any combination of your favourite spices)
•    A Pinch of chilli powder
•    ½ - 1 cup grated cheese (I used a combination of tasty + pecorino)
•    Salt & Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, and lightly grease a baking dish big enough to hold all that delicious goodness!
Place the potatoes into a large pot of cold water, and bring to the boil over medium-to-high heat. Allow the potatoes to boil until par-cooked/al dente, then strain, and roughly mash (lumps are ok!). Set aside ¼ of the mash to top the pie later.
In a large bowl, combine the soup mix, chickpeas, potato, onion, garlic, and spices. Tip it into your pre-greased dish. In a small bowl, whisk your flour into the milk, and pour over the top of the lentil mix. If you’re lazy (or cleaning out the cupboard!), grab a packet of that instant potato-bake stuff, like Maggi potato-bake mix, mix it up, and pour it over. If you want it super cheesy, sprinkle a bit of your cheese over the top now! Place your baking dish in the oven and bake, giving it a good mix occasionally, until the lentils and chickpeas are al dente. Pull out of the oven, evenly spread the last of the mashed potato in an even layer, and top with your grated cheese. Replace in the oven, and cook until the cheese is melted and golden-brown.
Serve hot, with a side of steamed broccoli/asparagus/, or a tasty salad.

Results & Discussion
This is a recipie that may require a bit of tweeking if you try it at home. I’ve not made this three times. The first two, at home, worked exactly how I wanted them, with the lentils and chickpeas developing a beautiful, meaty flavor, despite complete lack of meat. However, when I made it the third time, in someone else’s kitchen, no luck. I’m not sure if it was the amount of soaking/sprouting, the oven, or the other ingredients. Future studies are required to resolve this dilemma.
Also, in case anyone is wondering, I soak and sprout a lot of my grains, pulses, etc. I’ll admit, no references, it’s just something I’ve picked up through word of mouth, and some experimentation. Germination activates/deactivates some enzymes, whist the soaking is supposed to aid digestion, and remove toxins from things like beans. Basically, I place the dried peas/grains/seeds/etc. in a bowl, and cover with cold clean water, which is drained, rinsed, and changed every 6-8 hours for approx. 24 hours. They are then placed into a plain, homemade, muslin/cheesecloth bag, and strung up in a warm place (I use our laundry so they’re out of the way) for a few days in order for them to germinate. I also give them an additional rinse in clean cold water each morning and evening to keep them moist. When the sprouts have grown to your desired length (I usually leave them to 1cm), eat them in whatever manner takes your fancy.

My kitchen cupboards!

No comments:

Post a Comment