All images © Dina Avila 2013
I woke up this morning with giant snowflakes falling from the sky. Sadly, they’ve ended their descent, but it’s still a cozy winter’s day and what better way to warm up your belly than with squash topped shepherd’s pie. This recipe is a riff on your traditional shepherd’s pie. I pulled it out of one my favorite cookbooks that somehow has worked it’s way to the bottom of the stack of cookbooks in our kitchen and left seemingly forgotten. I’m so glad I’ve rediscovered it because it is a gem of a book. If you don’t have Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Food in your collection, I suggest you pick it up soon. It’s lined with an abundance of healthy and inspiring seasonal recipes with mediterranean twist. Right up my alley.
I made this dish last night and it was a hit. Rustic, hearty, but tweaked just enough from your original version of shepherd’s pie so you don’t feel heavy from a meat and potato coma. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but I think we’re all still feeling a little gloopy from the holidays. What better way to counter that then with a healthy and seasonal meal.
Mediterranean Shepherd’s Pie with Gremolata
Adapted from Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia
I bought a bulb of fennel to slice and add to this dish. Sadly, it was overlooked and left in the crisper.
I think it would have made a wonderful addition to the meal. If adding fennel sounds good to you, I say go for it.
Two acorn squash
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cups fresh arugula, roughly torn
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
1 cup of walnuts, pulsed in your food processor until coarse
4 anchovy filets, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup bread crumbs
For the Gremolata:
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
Zest from one lemon
Warm your oven to 400°F
Half your squash and brush with olive oil. Dust with salt and pepper, place on baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes. Until soft when poked with a fork.
Let squash cool then scoop the meat into your food processor and purée until smooth. Set aside.
Warm a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Add the onion and sauté until soft.
Add the arugula and cook for about two minutes.
Stir in the garlic, chickpeas, walnuts and anchovies.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes.
Pour the chickpea mixture into a 10-inch pie dish. A casserole or Pyrex would work great, as well.
Using a spatula, spread the squash purée evenly over the top of the chickpeas.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the squash and then drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
Place the pie in your 400° oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Just until the bread crumbs brown.
Serve with the gremolata on the side for dusting.