We again contributed to a vegan bake sale + benefit for Burrito Project LA this past weekend, this time with a new culinary venture—vegan shepherd’s pie buttermilk biscuit bites, a literal and figurative mouthful.
If you’re not familiar with BPLA, they work to support Los Angeles’ hungry + houseless by getting together to make + distribute—you guessed it—vegan burritos. We did an interview last year with one of the group’s organizers and more recently Vice did a great piece on the group’s work that’s well worth the read.
If you’re interested in giving these biscuit bites a try and don’t want to wait for the next bake-sale-based-benefit, they’re relatively easy to make.
We started with our long-held vegan buttermilk biscuit recipe. Then, we basically worked up a batch of smashed potatoes—sautéing 4 or 5 cut-up fingerling potatoes with their skins still on in olive oil until browned, then adding a few sliced-up cloves of garlic, cooking for another five minutes, and adding our homemade vegetable broth, cooking covered on medium heat until tender, then adding salt to taste along with a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and smashing with a fork.
At the same time, we sautéd a sliced white onion in olive oil on low heat until translucent and fragrant and then threw in our lentils (you can use a drained can or, preferably, a cup of soaked and then boiled until tender dried lentils). Cook until tender, scraping and smashing, seasoning with salt and pepper, a little ground cumin + fennel, and grated cinnamon. Really, you can spice them however you like or normally do, we were just going for a warm feeling with the cinnamon + cumin and a little bit of a traditional sausage taste with the fennel.
You’d then set both fillings aside and fill a muffin tin with the biscuit dough, making a divot in the middle of each bit of dough and baking at 350°F for about 10 or 15 minutes until they firm up. Once they do, take them out of the oven and check them—some if not all will bake out and fill in the divot, in which case you can just scoop the middles out a bit (added bonus—you’ve got extra little donut-hole-esque biscuit bites). Return to the oven and bak until golden, not brown. Again remove from the oven and then fill, first with a scoop of the lentil mixture, then with the smashed potatoes. Now turn on your broiler and place the tray directly under the flame to give them a nice browning, carefully watching them to make sure they don’t get too scorched.
We topped the finished product with chopped green onion and a nice, quick tomato jam, halving a handful of cherry tomatoes from the farmers market and placing them in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil, scorching in the broiler, tossing with a tablespoon or so of cane sugar once removed but still hot, and smashing with a fork once cooled.
You can make any components ahead of time and assemble when ready to eat/serve/donate.
If you’re local to Los Angeles and want to get involved with Burrito Project, you can find out more about their next meet up via their Facebook page. Below, Katie + Burrito Project LA leader, Aubrie Davis at the bake sale; below that, pre- and post-scorched tomatoes, before being smashed.