Saturday, March 13, 2021

Shingled Taco Pie

When the wind is blowing and the thermometer is still up and down like a yo-yo, why not turn up the heat with these vegetarian taco pies? A simple spiced lentil and vegetable filling hides under a shingled blanket of thinly sliced potatoes and (of course) cheese! The recipe makes two, so have one tonight and freeze one for later.

Well guys - it's almost Spring! That said, around here, Spring is more fits and starts than a season of it's own, and the nights are still plenty chilly! I've also been sidelined from cooking (mostly) for the last month and a half since a lovely car accident and final exams, so my silence is not intentional! 

However, before all that went down I was dabbling a fair bit in the kitchen, and one of my favourites so far has been this Shingled Taco Pie. It (like a lot of things during the school year) was born out of leftovers - in my case, it was leftover taco filling that the kids and I made. N loves my shepherd's pie made with lentils, and with potatoes always in our pantry I figured why not take that idea and twist it into a meal he could enjoy for a week before his night shifts?

That said, I have a wee secret. I loathe making mashed potatoes. The water, the waiting, the splashing, the dicey-at-best draining... yeah, that's a two-to-three times a year thing (probably good too, cause we like these guys). So instead of baking / nuking the spuds and mashing like I do for the shepherd's pies, I decided to let my knife work and create a neat little shingled "roof" over the taco filling, held together by the highlight of any taco - cheese.

 Did it work? Yes - and way better than I anticipated it working. Not to mention how gorgeous it looked sitting in the pan! Of course, since this isn't a pie with a crust or anything, a slice won't hold the same photogenic quality. However, I am the last person to complain about how a delicious meal looks while I'm savouring every last mouthful! I made two pies and N froze one for a later stretch of work, which apparently came in handy!

Shingled Taco Pie
Makes 2 pies, about 8-10 servings
Taco Seasoning:
2 ½ tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp black pepper

Taco Filling:
2 tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, diced
4 cups cooked lentils
2/3 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste

3 large red potatoes, sliced thinly (I used a mix of Yukon Gold and red, but I prefer red)
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine all the Taco Seasoning ingredients in a bowl and set aside (hint: make extra so you have some for later!
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.
  4. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the lentils, broth, seasoning and tomato paste and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and the ingredients are well mixed, about 5 minutes.
  7. Spoon filling mixture evenly between two greased 10" pie plates.
  8. Top with potatoes, overlapping slices like shingles on a roof.
  9. Season potatoes with salt and pepper and spray with oil.
  10. Bake until potatoes are almost done and pie is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle liberally with Cheddar and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.

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