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Red Dragon Pie, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

What a great vegetarian version for shepherd’s pie! The adjuki beans provide the richness. A winner for vegetarians without a doubt, and carnivores will enjoy too. Always handy to be able to make a dish in advance and reheat too, which all shepherd’s pie dishes are great for. You can replace butter with olive oil and the dish becomes vegan as well, plus a great one for detoxing if you also use brown rice.

"It is like shepherd’s pie but is made with a rich bean and vegetable mixture topped with mashed potato. The Chinese call adjuki beans “red dragon” or “red wonder” beans as they have found them to be so full of goodness. The cooking liquid from adjuki beans is thought by some to be a tonic for the kidneys. Serve this pie with green vegetables and a tomato or mushroom sauce" - Sarah Higham.

Pictured: Red Dragon Pie

4oz/110g adjuki beans
2oz/50g wheat grain or rice
2 pints/1.1ltrs water for soaking
2 pints/1.1ltrs water for boiling
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
8oz/225g carrots, scrubbed and diced
1 – 2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp mixed herbs
½ pint/275ml adjuki bean stock
Salt and pepper
1lb/450g potatoes, peeled
1oz/25g butter

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/350°F/180°C.

Wash the adjuki beans and the wheat grain or rice and soak them overnight or steep them in boiling water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse, then bring to boil in fresh water and cook 50 minutes or until the wheat grain or rice is fairly soft. Stir regularly as the dish thickens as it cooks and can stick to the bottom. Drain, reserving the stock.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 2 -3 minutes. Then add the cooked beans and grains. Mix the soy sauce, tomato puree and herbs with the stock. Pour this over the bean and vegetable mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer 20 – 30 minutes on a very gentle heat, use a simmer mat if you have one or make sure to stir often, so that the flavours are well blended. Season to taste. Add a little more liquid if necessary so that the final mixture is moist.
Transfer into a greased 3 pint/1.5ltr casserole.
Boil the potatoes until soft and mash them with butter. Season well. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beans and vegetables.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the potato is crisp and brown.

Serves 4 - 6

Pictured: Adjuki Beans