Me + my fiance both love this dish, even though hes a red meat-eater. Its so cheap and easy but just make sure you have enough time to make it, a good few hours, but its worth it!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1hr 45 minutes
FOR THE LENTIL SAUCE:
1 onions , chopped
3 carrots , diced (i use a mixture of carrot and swede)
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped (do not slack with the garlic its better to have more than less!)
100g pack mushrooms , sliced (optional)
1 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried thyme or dried mixed herbs
250g pack dried green lentils
850ml vegetable stock
1 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
FOR THE TOPPING:
1kg floury potatoes , such as King Edwards
50ml milk (from HEA)
20g cheddar , grated (From HEA)
1.To make the lentil base, heat lots of 'frylight' butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots/swede, and garlic for 15 mins until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms if using, then cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the herbs, then add the lentils. Pour over the stock - it's important that you do not season with salt/pepper at this stage. Simmer for 40-50 mins until the lentils are very soft. Now season to taste, take off heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
2.While the lentils are cooking, tip the potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 mins until tender. Drain well, mash with the milk, then season with salt and pepper.
3.To assemble the pies, divide the lentil mixture between all the dishes that you are using, then top with mash. Scatter over the cheese and freeze for up to two months (see tips, below) or if eating that day, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 30 mins until the topping is golden.
Cooking instructions from frozen
For best results, defrost the prepared pies thoroughly before cooking as stated. The pies can also be cooked from frozen if short of time - first heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3, then cover the pie with foil and bake for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins (30 mins for individual pies) until completely soft when prodded with a knife. Increase the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, uncover, then continue to cook for 20 mins until golden on top and piping hot.
You could also use three cans of rinsed and drained green lentils for this - simply make the stock, then simmer them for just 10 minutes.