Nameless Pie

Knowing what to call a dish is sometimes more of a challenge than creating it in the first place. Things have names for a reason. They define what a thing is, the mention of which conjures up a mental image of the thing. Food is no exception. Name a dish, any familiar dish or food item, and the mind immediately visualizes how it looks, smells and tastes. The visualization is according to one’s experience and preference. Some dishes are granted more leeway than others. Potato salad comes in many forms and variations and despite the differences can still be called potato salad. For other dishes the expectation is much more specific, especially if the name is defined by region, style of cuisine, tradition etc.

Shepherd’s Pie, a meat dish topped with mashed potatoes, might be one such example. In some parts of the world it can only be called Shepherd’s Pie if it is prepared with lamb. An identical dish made with beef is referred to as Cottage Pie. It would be sacrilege to call what I made here by either of those names. So, perhaps I’ll leave it nameless and just relate what I did.

Instead of lamb or beef I cooked up some black lentils, also known as beluga lentils for their resemblance to beluga caviar.


To season the lentils I used numerous herbs and spices, most of them in tiny amounts. They included:

  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • celery seeds
  • paprika
  • ground bay leaf
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • chervil
  • sage
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne
  • powdered mushrooms
  • salt
  • pepper

I added the cooked lentils to sautéed onions, jalapeños and mushrooms.shepherd's pie

shepherd's pie (1).jpg

shepherd's pie

I topped the lentils with mashed baked sweet potato seasoned with cumin powder, smoked paprika and salt.

shepherd's pie

I baked them a little too long.

shepherd's pie

shepherd's pie


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