Guinness shepherd’s pie with lentils and spinach
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, diced
100g mushrooms, diced
60g red lentils
1tbsp tomato puree
1tsp dried thyme
1tbsp gravy granules (optional)
1tbsp cornflour (if needed)
175g fresh spinach
2tbsp semi-skimmed milk
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and gently soften the onion and mushrooms. After several minutes, add the lentils and Guinness, and enough water to reach about an inch higher than the lentils, perhaps around 300ml. Stir in the tomato puree, and simmer uncovered for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils are tender. You may need to add an extra dash of water if at any point the mixture begins to dry up.
Meanwhile, cut up the potatoes (I left mine unpeeled), and boil them for 20 minutes, or until very tender. Drain well, and mash with the butter and a dash of milk. I like slightly lumpy mash, but you can use a potato ricer if you want your mash to be really smooth.
Heat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).
Add the dried thyme to the lentil mixture, and the gravy granules if you have them – they add a nice richness, but aren’t necessary. The mixture should be slightly thick, but still liquid – add a little cornflour if it needs to be thicker.
Stir in the fresh spinach a bit at a time until it has wilted in the heat of the gravy.
Transfer the lentil and spinach mixture to a medium sized baking dish, and top with the mashed potato. Spread it out gently with the back of a spoon, being careful not to disturb the layer of lentils underneath. Top with some breadcrumbs if desired, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is crispy and the filling is piping hot.