Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Boss Warlock's 'Spring's a-Comin', But She Ain't Here Yet' Lentil Shepherd's Pie

 Whole Brown Lentils (per 50 pound bag) | Red Ginger Spices

February on the wane. Snow lies deep, but underneath, the rich earth waits.

It's a month yet until Equinox and calendar Spring: still plenty of time to stoke up the oven and savor the dark, warming foods of Winter.

Think of it as sympathetic magic. The lentils' pebbly texture and loamy, over-seasoned umami pair beautifully with the mashed potatoes' creamy blandness.

Beneath the snow, the rich, dark earth awaits.


Boss Warlock's 'Spring's a-Comin', But She Ain't Here Yet' Lentil Shepherd's Pie


mashed potatoes made (however you make them) from 6 potatoes

1 cup dried brown (or green) lentils, picked over

2 cups vegetable stock

1 large onion, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, minced

3 stalks celery, minced

1 red bell pepper, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons tamari

black pepper to taste

olive oil



Make a sofrito (mince) of the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and red pepper. Saute in olive oil until it begins to brown.

Add lentils and mix well. Add 1½ cups vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have absorbed it all. Continue adding broth, a few tablespoons at a time, until lentils are just al dente.

Season to taste with tamari, thyme, and black pepper.

Spread lentil mixture in an oiled baking dish; seal with a layer of mashed potatoes.

Drizzle top with olive oil and dust with paprika.

Bake uncovered at 350º until golden brown.



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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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