The Food Gatherer's Note: This recipe was pretty much taken from the vegan blog, The First Mess but with one or 2 changes including a thicker layer of celeriac mash than suggested, to balance the sweetness of the root veg (might be my British palate - I think in general the Americans traditionally have more sweetness in their savoury dishes than us Brits). I am also not a Vegan so added a generous grating of mature cheddar cheese on top, a melter like Starnachas or Gruyere would be nice...  Emma :)



Serves 4

Filling ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cooking onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves minced
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed + divided
pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Approx 800g of small diced, hardy vegetables (eg butternut squash, carrots and beetroot)
200g  tinned black or puy lentils cooked
600ml vegetable stock
1 tsp tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
2 tsp cornflour or potato flour
1 tbsp cold filtered water

Celeriac mash ingredients:
800g peeled + 1-inch-diced celeriac
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil + extra
50ml milk
salt + pepper

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly oil 1 baking dish or 4 ramekins/cocottes/mini gratin dishes with at least 8 oz/1 cup capacity. Place the dish(es) on a baking sheet and set aside.

For the filling, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until very, very soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, and chili flakes (if using) to the pot and stir. Sauté until the garlic is very fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the 800g of diced vegetables to the pot and stir to coat everything in the oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables another two minutes or so, stirring often.  Add the vegetable stock and tamari and stir. The liquid should cover all the vegetables nicely, by about a half inch. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes with a lid on but slightly ajar to let some of the steam escapethen add the lentils, continue to simmer for about another 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are just soft.

When the filling is done, in a small bowl mix together the cornflour or potato flour and cold water. Scrape this mix into the pot with the filling and stir to mix it in. Remove the pot from the heat.

For the celeriac mash, place the diced celeriac and garlic cloves in a medium saucepan. Cover the vegetables with cold water/vegetable stock if you like, and then place the pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer until the celery root pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the celeriac and garlic, and place it in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade or place back in the pan and use a hand blender. Pulse the vegetables a couple times to get them moving. Add the olive oil, milk, and some salt and pepper. Pulse on high until you have a cream, smooth mixture. Check it for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Divide the veg filling amongst the 4 oiled dishes or one gratin/ baking dish. Then, divide the celeriac mash on the top, smoothing it out with a butter knife or spatula. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the pie and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Place the assembled pies back on the baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake the pies until the filling is bubbling and the tops are very lightly browned, about 20 minutes