Here’s Alan Bates, plus lamb, playing the part of Gabriel Oak, a Dorset Shepherd, in the 1967 film of “Far From The Madding Crowd” You may remember that at the beginning of the film, Oak loses all his sheep. So here is a recipe for a meatless shepherd’s pie!
I wanted to use up some potatoes – they don’t keep well in this heat. I’ve adapted this from a Waitrose recipe. It uses Soup Mix [that colourful selection of pearl barley, dried beans, peas and lentils – available from most supermarkets] a can of tomatoes, and a few fresh things you probably have lurking in the fridge. The pie takes 40 minutes to make and the original recipe said ‘serves 4’ – I made individual pies using my Mason Cash Oval dishes – and would say it serves six and is quite economical
250g Soup Mix
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, diced, I carrot diced
1 vegetable stock cube, I tsp dried herbs
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
800g potatoes, cut into chunks
150ml skimmed milk
1. Soak the soup mix in cold water overnight.
2. Drain and rinse.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the soup mix, stock cube, herbs, tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Rinse out the tomato can, filling it about 1/3rd full of cold water, and add that to the pan too. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It sticks if you don’t stir it!
5. Place in a heatproof serving dish.
6. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until tender, drain and mash with the milk and seasoning.
7. Spoon on top of the bean mixture [optional; top with some grated cheese]
8. Place under a preheated grill for 4-5 minutes until golden.
OR Freeze after stage 7 – cook in the oven from frozen at 170º for 40 minutes
We thought it tasted good, and was very filling. I served it with a green vegetable alongside. Without the cheese, it has about 300 calories per portion, is low in fat, and counts as 1 of your 5 a day.