A recipe tonight. This is a dish I have been making for many years and was passed on to me by my Mum. It is filling, delicious, doesn’t take too long to make and is freezable.
The portions are pretty generous, so if you don’t want that much, divide it up however you like. We generally have it with some kind of green veg, even if only a few peas.
1kg potatoes Asda, 2.5kg/£1.69, 68p
Tblsp vegetable oil Asda £1.25/litre, 2p
1 onion, chopped, Asda 2kg/£1.08, 5p
150g green lentils, Asda, Cypressa brand, £1/500g, 30p
Clove garlic, crushed Asda 25p a bulb, 3p
100g cheddar Asda 830g/£4, 48p
200g carrots Asda SmartPrice £1.18/2kg, 12p
Tblsp tomato purée Asda 200g/49p, 4p
Green pepper, diced Asda Smartprice 700g/£1.19, 5 peppers in pack, 24p
100g mushrooms, sliced, Asda, by weight, 27p/100g
Tsp dried basil
Stock cube, Asda 40p/12, 3p
Total price £2.26
4 very generous portions, 56p each
Cals 513, fat 13g, carbs 99g, fibre 15g, protein 24g
Cook the lentils in plenty of water until just soft. Drain, but save the water.
Meanwhile, fry the onion , garlic and carrot, adding the pepper and mushrooms towards the end.
Peel and cook the potatoes until soft, drain and mash well. Add butter and milk if you have any (not included in the cost here)
To the cooked vegetables, add the cooked lentils, tomato purée, basil and cayenne if using, and the stock cube. Add enough of the reserved lentil cooking liquor to make a moist mixture and mix everything well together.
Put the mixture into your cooking dish and cover with the mashed potato. Finally, top with the grated cheese.
Bake in a moderately hot oven until the top is golden brown. Tasty on its own, or serve with a crispy green vegetable.
Cheddar, Asda sell ready grated cheddar that is mild, not the mature, but is available for an outlay of £2.21/500g, about the same as the 100g price of the block.
I have made this many times and I have found that using a green pepper, rather than any other colour, really does make a difference to the flavour, although of course, you can use whatever you like.
This combination makes a tasty cottage pie, but is also ideal for adding that half cup of baked beans in the fridge, a few spicy chickpeas etc.
The green lentils can be replaced with brown ones, chickpeas, kidney beans, haricot beans, or any of the other beans. Or you could always use a can of something.
A bay leaf added to the sautéing vegetables would be nice, it can be seasoned with whatever you like, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, grainy mustard, dried mixed herbs, fresh basil, marjoram, oregano or whatever you have.
As with a beef ragu, a glass of red or white wine or cider will add depth of flavour. Replace the lentil liquor with the wine and simmer for a few minutes to drive off the alcohol.