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Hachis parmentier is the French equivalent of the English shepherd's pie which is usually made with lamb. Here, it is made with ground beef, but almost any kind of meat such as venison, pork, veal, or a combination, works well, too. Best served with Sauce aux Champignons. For a lively alternative, Pierre's "Curried" Shepherd's Pie recipe is available by searching on: https://epicurious.com.
INGREDIENTS4 potatoes, about 1-1/4 pounds
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
PREPARATION1. Peel the potatoes, cutting each into six pieces of equal size. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until tender.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions wilt, careful not to burn the garlic.
3. Add the beef and cook, chopping down with the side of a heavy metal spoon to break up the lumps. When the meat has lost its raw color, add salt and pepper to taste, the bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
4. Preheat the broiler to high.
5. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and put through a food mill or potato ricer. Return the potatoes to the saucepan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until the butter melts.
6. Heat the milk and add it gradually to the potatoes, beating with a wooden spoon. Add salt to taste, the nutmeg, and half the parsley.
7. Add the remaining parsley to the beef mixture.
8. Spoon the beef into a flame-proof baking dish. A dish that measures about 8 x 11.5 x 2 inches is ideal for this. Spoon the potatoes over the meat and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with the cheese.
9. Place the dish under the broiler and broil about 5 minutes or less, until the potatoes are nicely browned. Serve with this mushroom sauce: Sauce aux Champignons.