I fall into the category of a flexitarian, I eat pretty much everything but prefer to keep my meat consumption to a minimum, so when impossible meat came out, I haven’t felt the need to purchase ground beef since. Cottage pie is typically made with ground beef, while shepherd’s pie uses lamb/sheep (makes sense). Both versions are popular dishes around the UK and Ireland and I wanted this particular version to take inspiration from St. Patrick’s Day. To do so, I’ve added in some good old-fashioned Guinness and topped it with colcannon - a traditional Irish mashed potato dish. It’s a classic dish served year-round, packed with cabbage, kale, and [vegan] bacon. This vegan take on shepherd’s pie is for those looking for something dairy-free with a depth of flavor and easily adaptable to however your diet prefers. Follow the recipe by substituting ground beef, regular unsalted butter, beef stock, bacon, and so on. You can find the [non-vegan] colcannon recipe here. I’m a food history buff (or maybe an enthusiast is a better way to describe myself), so I’m always looking for the sources of why we eat what we eat and how it became what it is today. If you also want to learn more about the food that is traditionally eaten on St. Patrick’s Day- Modern Farmer has a great article that goes into detail about cabbage consumption, the Great Potato Famine that spread across Europe in the 1800s, and how foods such as colcannon came to the US. Check it out here.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 (12 ounce) packages Impossible meat
- 2 tablespoons vegan unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1/ 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon Dark Horse Umami Bouillon (or vegetable base)
- 2/ 3 cup vegan dark stout beer, such as Guinness
- 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 10 tablespoons vegan unsalted butter
- 3/ 4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (preferably full-fat oat milk)
- 2 slices vegan bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 small head napa cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
- 1/ 8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Chopped scallions, for garnish
- 1/ 2 cup vegan sour cream
To make the filling:
Oil a 9x13 inch rectangular baking dish. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown Impossible meat, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through about 8-10 minutes. Remove browned meat using a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard any excess oil from the pan.
Melt vegan butter in a pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Return Impossible meat to pot and season generously with salt and pepper. Note: I had to add about 2T water to help loosen the browned bits here.
Sprinkle flour into pot and stir well to coat. Gradually stir in stock, stout and bouillon. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Once mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes, remove from heat, stir in peas, and pour into prepared dish. Set aside.
To make the colcannon:
Place potatoes in a large pot, add cold water to cover by 2 inches and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
Meanwhile, combine 7 tablespoons vegan butter, oat milk, and vegan sour cream in a small saucepan over low heat until completely melted and heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Return drained potatoes to pot and mash until mostly smooth. Fold in vegan milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover with foil, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add vegan bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.
Return pot to medium heat, add 1 tablespoon vegan butter, shallots, and leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add kale and cabbage, toss until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cooked bacon and season with salt and pepper. Stir mashed potatoes into cabbage mixture.
Spread colcannon evenly over top of meat filling. Dice remaining 1 tablespoon vegan butter into small bits and use to dot the top of the colcannon.
Place on the center rack over a baking tray to catch any spills. Bake for 1 hour until top is lightly browned, and filling is bubbling.
Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish top with fresh scallions.