Around My French Table: Hachis Parmentier

Every now and then you find a recipe that speaks to you on an entirely different level.  A recipe that you think about long after you’ve eaten it. A recipe that, should it transmorgify into human form, would give your spouse a serious run for his or her money.  Yes, I want to marry Hachis Parmentier.  At the very least I want to be alone in a room with it and a big spoon.

Can you blame me?  It’s an extraordinarily delicious meat concoction on the bottom and pharmaceutical-quality mashed potatoes on top.  It’s definitive comfort food and it’s French so you can eat all you want and not get fat!

Despite the fact that in my adulthood I have become a much more adventurous eater than I ever would have thought possible, I’m still a meat and potatoes girl at heart.  (If my college roommate is reading this she can testify to the times when I was sick with the “Irish flu” and she was kind enough to bring me dinner from the cafeteria.  And what did I want? Nothing more than a large plate of mashed potatoes.  And they were dorm mashed potatoes so you know I had it bad).  So a Frenched-up version of shepherd’s pie and I were made for each other.

The filling starts with a very simple beef stock (I swear it’s simple: just some meat and veggies thrown in a pot and simmered for 90 minutes).  You will then use both the broth and the meat as well as some sweet Italian sausages and a bit of tomato paste.  The potatoes are just boiled, drained and mashed with whole milk, cream and butter and then spread over the meat filling.  Gruyere and a tiny bit of parmesan are sprinkled on top (along with a little extra butter) and the whole thing is baked until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes are browned.

Although Dorie recommends using a ricer or a food mill to mash the potatoes I openly defied her because I’m not a big fan of my food mill.  For me, it’s an extremely awkward and inefficient device and I’ve managed to find a successful work-around for almost every recipe that’s ever called for it.  This time I just tossed the cooked potatoes in my stand mixer and it worked perfectly.

I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this!

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