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Café Pistou’s Provençal Shepherd’s pie

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

This Café Pistou dish leaps off the menu: how dare the French give something so British a French makeover!

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Developed by chef Alex Mackay (who’s spent many years in Provence), it swaps lamb for sheep’s cheese – feta is the main filling, mixed with ratatouille ingredients (aubergine, onions, peppers and tomatoes), and is topped with chickpea purée. Forget mash – brique pastry is the final topping, and dried orange peel is the ingredient that transforms it into something quite sublime.

Ingredients

  • onion 1, peeled and cut into chunks

  • garlic 4 cloves, peeled and sliced

  • red pepper 1, cut into chunks

  • olive oil 2 tbsp

  • orange peel 2 strips
  • chopped tomatoes 6-8 large, or 1 tin
  • vegetable oil 3 tbsp

  • aubergine cut into chunks

  • cooked puy lentils 125g, (1/2 pouch of merchant gourmet)
  • vegetable stock 8 tbsp

  • dried figs 4 tbsp of finely chopped

  • feta 150g, crumbled
  • basil chopped to make 4 tbsp
  • smoked paprika

Topping

  • chickpeas 400g, tin, keeping the liquid
  • garlic
 1 clove, peeled and sliced
  • 
olive oil 3 tbsp
  • whole milk 6-8 tbsp
  • brique or filo pastry 4 sheets

Method

  • Step 1

    To make the ratatouille add the onion, garlic, pepper, olive oil, orange peel and 2 tbsp water to a shallow, medium sized pan with a lid on a medium heat. Add half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of sugar.

  • Step 2

    Cover and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and smell sweet.

  • Step 3

    Heat a large frying pan with 3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the chunks of aubergine in a single layer and fry for 4-5 minutes until gently browned. Season and transfer to a plate.

  • Step 4

    Add the aubergines to the onion and pepper mixture. Add the tinned tomatoes with their juice. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium/low.

  • Step 5

    Cover the ratatouille with greaseproof paper. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are meltingly soft. Lift the paper and stir from time to time to make sure the ratatouille doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove the paper and discard the orange peel. Add the lentils, vegetable stock, dried figs, feta and sliced basil. Season with salt, sugar to balance the tomatoes’ acidity and smoked paprika.

  • Step 6

    To make the chickpea purée, put the chickpeas, their liquid, garlic and 3 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan. Put the pan onto a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil until all but about 6 tbsp of liquid remains. Add the milk, bring back to the boil. Tip into a food processor. Blend until the purée is smooth. If the purée is too thick, add more milk 1 tbsp at a time. You should finish with approximately 400g.

  • Step 7

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  • Step 8

    Spread the ratatouille mixture into 4 small ovenproof dishes. Spoon the chickpea purée into the centre of each then use a spatula to smooth it to the edges. Don’t push too hard, but don’t worry if the purée sinks into the lentils a little.

  • Step 9

    To make the topping, put the brique pastry sheets onto your worktop. Sprinkle them with smoked paprika. Brush them all over with olive oil. Scrunch the pastry up into the size of the dishes. Try and keep as much of the pastry as possible off the chickpea purée’s surface. Bake for 12-15 minutes until hot and golden.

    THIS RECIPE HASN’T BEEN TESTED IN THE OLIVE KITCHEN

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