The “V” Word continues its celebration of VeganMoFo, the vegan month of food, with its theme “If TV Celebrity Chefs Went Vegan.” Today the focus is on Michael Chiarello: chef, cookbook author, TV cooking show personality, entrepeneur, restaurateur, and winery owner. He also owns NapaStyle, a company that sells food, cookware and furniture, and puts out a catalog that makes me drool – over the furniture (so beautiful, so expensive…sigh).
Michael Chiarello specializes in Italian cooking inspired by his family’s traditions. He is the chef/owner of Bottega Restaurant in California’s Napa Valley. and hosts Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello on Food Network and NapaStyle on the Fine Living Network. He has a very sucessful culinary and media career but Chiarello could soon start being known as “the runner-up chef.” In 2009 he took 2nd place to Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters and in 2011, Chiarello was was 2nd runner-up on Next Iron Chef, being eliminated right before the finale with Elizabeth Falkner and Geoff Zakarian.
Since Chiarello made such a thoughtful, cruelty-free dish (even if it was just to win the challenge), I thought I would return the gesture and veganize one of his recipes. Oddly enough, I didn’t choose any of his Italian dishes but instead chose the Shepherd’s Pie from his “Pub Crawl” episode on Easy Entertaining. I love pub food and Shepherd’s Pie is so hearty and comforting.
Chiarello’s dish is made authentically with lamb, beef and beef broth. Shepherd’s Pie was known as “cottage pie,” which is made with lamb and/or beef, until the late 1800’s. The term “shepherd’s pie” was coined for when the dish is made with lamb since shepherds work with sheep and not cattle. But my Peaceful Shepherd’s Pie leaves the animals where they belong – safe and sound on green pastures with their families.
My Peaceful Shepherd’s Pie is made with tempeh but you can use lentils or burger crumbles if you wish. I make my own “beef” broth by using vegan “beef-flavored” boullion cubes. Along with some Worcestershire sauce, the tempeh and “beef” broth combine for a filling that has a texture and taste reminiscent of beef. If that’s not your thing, you could also just use more mushrooms for the filling which would be equally delicious.
Normally, I don’t talk about servings because everyone eats differently. What might serve 6 for one family might only serve 4 in another and most of my recipes could feed 4 unless otherwise stated. Well, here I am otherwise stating – this recipe will easily feed 8 people so if you don’t want to make that much, cut the recipe in half. But I have to tell you, the leftovers taste even better so you might want to make the whole batch.
I also made my Peaceful Shepherd’s Pie two ways. I made half of it in a casserole dish and the other half in individual ramekins.
The individual ones are so cute and great for portion control. Of course, my version is not only vegan but gluten-free. The result is a delicious and satisfying dish that definitely falls under the category of comfort food and all the judges (that would be Tom and I) declare a winner! Enjoy!
Peaceful Shepherd’s Pie with Scallion Cheese Crust
2 cups water
1 “beef” flavored bouillon cube
2- 16 oz. blocks of tempeh
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 Tbs. vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped very small
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped or 2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. chickpea flour
1 cup vegan red wine
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 Tbs. vegan butter
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
In a food processor, pulse the tempeh until it is in crumbles. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat in a deep sauté pan. Cook the tempeh and allow it to brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce and toss to coat the tempeh. Continue to cook the tempeh until it is fully browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the pan and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the remaining Tbs. of oil to the pan. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until the onions are tinged brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, thyme, parsley and cinnamon. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Next, stir in the flour, then stir in the wine and the “beef” broth. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Return the tempeh to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes while you prepare the potatoes.
Cut the potatoes into large even-sized pieces and place into a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes until they are tender, about 10 minutes. You know the potatoes are done when a knife can easily go through them.
When the potatoes are done, drain off the water and return them to the saucepan. Add the butter and mash them to a puree. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Spoon the tempeh and vegetable mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and level it out with the back of the spoon. After that, spread the mashed potatoes evenly all over. Sprinkle the scallions on top of the potatoes, scatter the cheese over the scallions and bake the pie until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes. Let the pie sit for about 10 minutes to set. Serve while hot.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.