Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything.
- Lawrence Downes
This is another recipe that's not really meant to be a recipe. In other words, you can change just about anything in it that you don't like. I browsed the web for ideas, and came up with the appealing innovation of blending goat cheese in with the potatoes, but other than that I winged it with the vegetables. Other ideas were lentils or split peas (cook them first), or green peas (frozen are fine), and red wine. I once tried a recipe with soy protein chunks, but this recipe is plenty hearty and you won't miss the meat-like stuff. Below is an approximation of what I made last night; I think it came out well. Part of my inspiration was a large bag of crudités that I'd inherited from a friend's party, and I wanted to use up the carrots and celery. The coriander seed gives it a nice fragrance, but try not to overdo it.
3 large baking potatoes, peeled
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
4 oz fresh goat cheese (it can take a couple more ounces if you have it)
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable broth mix (low-sodium if possible),
dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp whole coriander seed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375oF.
Boil the water for the potatoes and the broth mix while you're chopping the other vegetables; be sure to salt the potato water.
Sauté the onions and shallots in olive oil, then add carrots, celery, thyme, coriander seed, cayenne, and salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth. Set aside.
When potatoes are cooked, drain, and mash with butter, milk, and goat cheese. Season with black pepper.
Add mushrooms, sweet potato, and corn to an 8-inch-square baking dish. Pour cooked vegetable mixture over the vegetables, and stir to combine. Drop mashed potatoes on top and spread to cover.
Bake for 30-40 min or until light golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.