Fall is a time of great vegetable abundance. Yukon-grown root vegetables, as well as squash, mushrooms, pepper and garlic, add rich flavour to this warm and comforting one-pot dish.

You can make it ahead and then pop it in the oven when you come home.

Add a crusty sourdough bread, a crisp salad, and a quick and nutritious vegetarian meal can be enjoyed on a cool Yukon night. After all, sometimes the shepherd doesn’t come home with the sheep or the moose …


Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

INGREDIENTS:

4 large or 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

? cup buttermilk or yogurt or sour cream

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

Fresh grinding of pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

1 cup squash, peeled and cubed

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

Few drops hot-pepper sauce

½ cup whole-wheat couscous

2 tablespoons flour

1 and ½ cup hot vegetable stock

1 cup corn kernels

½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

¼ cup asiago or swiss cheese, grated

2 tablespoons butter, melted

PREPARATION:

In a pot of boiling water, cook potatoes for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender.

Drain and mash potatoes, adding buttermilk, butter, salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion.

Add carrots, squash, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic, cooking for about three more minutes.

Add in cumin, chili powder and hot-pepper sauce.

Add in couscous and flour, and cook until all is coated.

Slowly add in hot vegetable stock, stirring until combined. Cook for about five minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Vegetables should still be tender-crisp, not too soft.

Taste test and adjust seasoning. You may want to add more salt and freshly ground black pepper, and if you like things really hot, add a bit more cumin and chili powder.

Transfer the hot mixture to a greased eight-cup casserole dish.

Sprinkle corn kernels for the next layer.

Spread mashed potatoes smoothly on top.

Sprinkle with grated cheese, and drizzle with melted butter.

Bake in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Yield = 4 to 6 servings