Colcannon, or Irish mashed potatoes, is baked over a hearty stew filled with veggies and seasoned tempeh swimming in a delicious mushroom stout gravy. Colcannon is traditionally made with cabbage, but spinach is what I had in my fridge when I created this recipe so that’s what I used and it turned out beautifully.
Shepherd’s Pie is one of our family favorites. It’s filled with goodness with creaminess from the mashed potatoes and some crispness where they’ve been caramelized by the broiler, and the stew underneath is not so different from non-veggie versions with the not-so-obvious difference that there’s no animal products. Tempeh is an excellent ground meat replacer as it has a very similar texture once it’s crumbled and cooked in gravy, taking on the flavors of the savory spices and mushrooms. One and a half cups of cooked lentils (or a 14-ounce can) are nice in this dish too, if you don’t have any tempeh. The alcohol cooks off in this dish, so it’s suitable for everyone at your table!
Colcannon & Stout Shepherd's Pie
For the Colcannon:
- 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened plant milk, hot
- 1/3 cup vegan butter or olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Stew:
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cups green peas
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1.5 lbs crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz pkg tempeh, crumbled
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup vegan stout
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (soak for 4 hours in water if you don't have a high-powered blender)
- 2 cups hot vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper,to taste
For the Colcannon:
- Cook the potatoes, covered in water in a medium sized pot or pressure cooker (about 4 minutes in pressure cooker at pressure, quick release) or about 20 minutes once boiling if cooking in a normal pot - the potatoes should be easily pierced with a knife when done. Once cooked, drain and return to the pot. Mash with the hot milk and vegan butter. Stir in the baby spinach. Season to taste. Set aside.
For the Stew:
- Place the carrots and peas in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the carrots are no longer crunchy (don't overcook, they go mushy). Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13" casserole dish.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms, tempeh crumbles, garlic and thyme and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is golden, stirring to ensure they don't stick and burn.
- While that's cooking, place the cashews, soup stock, miso, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender, blending on high until smooth.
- Deglaze the pan with the stout. Stir in the gravy from the blender and cook for about a minute until well combined and hot. Add in the peas and carrots, stirring well.
- Pour into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, leveling out with a big spoon. Carefully place spoonfuls of the colcannon over the top and then smooth out with a fork or spatula, taking care not to press too hard so the stew does get pushed up the sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a bit crispy on top; turning on the broiler for the final few minutes adds some crispness to the potatoes and highlights any swirls you might make when spreading the potatoes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.