Did you know that what most of the country (world?) calls Shepherd’s Pie actually goes by the name Chinese Pie in parts of New England? It’s true! There are some differences (peas and carrots vs. corn for example), but they’re very similar dishes. There’s a whole story about how Chinese railroad workers back in the day cooked it for their fellow workers, who then brought the recipe home with them to NE and Quebec. I grew up calling it Chinese Pie, but when I say that around here no one knows what I’m talking about. And no, I don’t ever serve it with pickled beets
I’m not sure if those Chinese railroad workers or French Canadians ever imagined giving their pate chinois a south-of-the-border flair like this, but I sure hope you like it. In the past I’ve made this with a vegan “meat crumble” substitute, but for 2012 I’m going to try and cut out more of the processed stuff. Not that I’m going cold-turkey on the Daiya or anything crazy like that! It’s just that I’ve been wearing a %^*#ing walking boot for much of the holiday season, and all the goodies and nog plus the inability to get any exercise are taking their toll. Hence my desire to cut back a little. And besides, we could all use a little less “processed” in our lives, right?
So rather than a layer of hamburger (or boca crumbles!) and a layer of corn we have a nice jumble of beans and corn (along with their friends tomatoes, green chilies and onions), and the mashed taters have some wonderful (hot!) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce mixed in. Oh, and a layer of mexi-bread crumbs adds some crunch at the very top! This is a very hearty, “stick to your ribs” type of meal, great for a cold winter’s night.
Tex Mex Chinese Pie (6-8 servings)
This recipe will fill up a 3 qt baking dish. If you want to make the beans/corn mix ahead of time just add 30 minutes of baking time (covered with foil). And you should definitely feel free to prepare the mashed potatoes as you normally do, using as much EB and milk as you like. I just included my own measurements as a suggestion.
- 5 medium/large potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
- Oil or water, for sauteeing
- 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1 14 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 packet ‘vegetarian chili’ seasoning mix
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1/4 cup water
- 4-5 T Earth Balance (amount based on preference)
- 1/4-1/2 cup non-dairy milk (amount based on preference)
- 2 good sized chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped as small as you can get them.
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 t chili powder
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1 T crushed red pepper
- Heat over to 350 degrees
- Put your potatoes on to boil, and let them cook until they’re nice and mooshy. We want a smooth mash for this, no lumps!
- In a large skillet or pot, sautee the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until they start to get soft.
- Add both cans of beans, seasoning mix, tomatoes/chilies and water to the skillet and mix all together. Let them simmer until it thickens.
- When your taters are done cooking, drain and mash with the EB and non-dairy milk. Once they’re nice and smooth, add the chipotle peppers.
- In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the remaining spices.
- Pour the bean/corn mixture into the bottom of your baking dish, the gently spread the mashed potatoes over the top, making sure to get full coverage.
- Top with the bread crumb mixture.
- If your bean/corn mixture and your potatoes are still warm, bake (uncovered) for about 20 minutes, then move to the top of the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes, so the top gets nice and browned. If you made any of the components earlier and they need to be reheated, add about 30 minutes of covered backing before removing the foil.