Friday, December 3, 2010

Pumpkin-White Bean Shepherd’s Pie

I seem to be about a season behind in the kitchen. Somehow, I made it through a relatively warm fall with a stash of pumpkin with which I kept meaning to bake and cook. Now that winter has reared its freezing cold head, I’m finally digging into it, particularly since quite a few of the recipes I had bookmarked call for pumpkin. All of this to explain why I’m using pumpkin in December.

After completely OD’ing on meat on vacation, I’m rediscovering my desire to take very seriously my move to pescetarianism. Though this recipe originally called for ground turkey, I subbed Morningstar Crumbles. With everything else in there, you hardly notice them anyway. Of course, when Joe asked me what I had added, and I responded, “Textured vegetable protein!”, he didn’t seem quite as excited. If you avoid fake meats, eggplant or additional mushrooms would be a good substitution.

As you might remember, I am a big fan of comforting winter meals that aren’t crazy heavy and loaded with starch and butter. Using the pumpkin-white bean puree really lightens up the typical mashed potato topping of Shepherd’s Pie. For a seemingly heavy meal, this was surprisingly light, while still being creamy and delicious.


Pumpkin-White Bean Shepherd’s Pie
source: Cara’s Cravings 
Yields 4 servings


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 10 oz package baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 package Morningstar Crumbles or 1 lb ground turkey
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
14 oz can diced tomatoes
10 oz baby spinach
1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 oz grated pecorino romano cheese


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Heat a olive oil in a 9-10" cast iron or other oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for two minutes, until starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes more, until they have released their moisture. Add the minced garlic and veggie crumbles. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, until crumbles are no longer frozen. Mix in the Herbs de Provence, tomato and paste, and flour; mix to coat well. Raise the heat to high, and add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, letting it wilt down.Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Meanwhile, puree the pumpkin or squash together with the white beans. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the filling in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until hot and bubbling around the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until lightly browned.