I concocted this recipe from what I had within our kitchen as well as adapting to our own preferences. It is a vegetarian dish, but I think would also taste lovely with a cup or two of shredded chicken.
I used this recipe as a base to start:
2 cups of homemade beef or chicken broth
1 1/3 cup of red lentils
1/2 cup of mushrooms (I would cook these in a pan of some butter prior to adding them to the recipe)
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cup quick-cooking oat
1 1/2 cup grated cheese (I used Red Leicester, but I imagine any sharp cheese would suit)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce (I think it was about this much)
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1 overflowing tablespoon of dried parsley
a generous sprinkling of ground coarse sea salt & black pepper
(optional: 1-2 cups of shredded chicken)
(optional: after casserole has slightly cooled, drizzle some mayonnaise over top or use as a dipping sauce)
Cook the lentils in the broth (add water if needed). I only cooked for about 20 minutes on medium setting) until it looked a little more fluffy than stiff- you do not want the lentils to be mushy (or at least that is my preference). Combine all other ingredients into a bowl. Once cooked, add lentils to the bowl and gently stir. Butter a 9 X13 pan and pour in the ingredients. Add Leicester cheese to the mix and push in the cheese so that it is not solely situated on the top of the casserole. Cover with tin foil. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese is melted. Remove tin foil and cook for another 5 minutes.
I think it is beautifully served on a white plate topped with some fresh parsley.
Let me know how it goes if you try it!