Beef · French Fridays with Dorie · Pork · Potatoes

French Fridays with Dorie – Hachis Parmentier

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It was a bit crazy in the kitchen the day I made Hachis Parmentier. 

Vocabulary homework, spelling reviews, math problems, an upcoming social studies test, school picture orders (they want me to pay how much???), and I don’t remember what else was going on, but I felt like I was being pulled and tugged at and many demands were made for my EXCLUSIVE AND UNDIVIDED attention from humans and cats alike, mostly about food.  (When do we eat?  What’s for dinner?  Mom, I’m hungry!  Meow!)

Oy!

Oh, yeah, and on top of all that, my camera wasn’t working.  It would work, and then it wouldn’t.  I switched batteries, changed lenses, removed the memory card and put it back…I even, I am ashamed to say, smacked the side of the camera (gently) in frustration. 

“Well…just bring it somewhere tomorrow to have it fixed,” Bill said, with the shrugging, what’s-the-big-deal? attitude of someone who HAS NO IDEA WHAT KIND OF CRISIS THIS IS!

I still don’t know what was wrong, but after lots of taking things out and off and putting things back on, my dear camera decided to work again.

PHEW!

We now return to our Hachis Parmentier, already in progress.

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I made a bit of a change, by the way.  Instead of using water and beef bouillon, I just used 6 cups of beef stock, which we had in the freezer.  (In the “stock freezer,” actually.  Chicken, beef, fish, crab, and clam stocks.)  Other than that, I kept things the same. 

Here’s the strained broth, by the way.  I kept the carrots and celery and chopped them to smaller pieces, to include with the beef in the filling.  I didn’t really need to cook the stock as long as indicated in the book, because I was already using beef stock and the flavor was fine.  So the vegetables, as a result, still had plenty of flavor.

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By the way, until I got smart and looked it up, I avoided saying “Hachis Parmentier” out loud because I didn’t know how to pronounce it.  Well, I kind of figured out the “Parmentier” part.  Par-men-tee-ay.  Or Par-men-tyay.  But “Hachis” was a puzzler.  Ha-chis, with the ch like “chick” or “cheese,” or (here’s the Scot coming through) was it more of a gutteral “K” sound?  Hackis?  It didn’t work for me.

Then, tired of mumbling “Hmbmbmbm Parmbmbmbm” all the time (because I often go around muttering the names of dishes I’m going to cook.  It’s either that or allow the strange lyrics Julia comes up with take root in my brain and drive me further along the journey to madness), I looked up the pronunciation.

AHA!  HA-shee PAR-men-tee-yay!  Well that sounds sensible.  And more French than “Hackis.”  I was happy just to be able to say it. 

No more mumbling!  I said it loud, I said it proud:

HACHIS PARMENTIER!  HACHIS PARMENTIER!

And then my children begged me to be quiet and my husband threatened to take away my copy of Around My French Table, so I stopped.

Here’s the sausage, the chopped cube steak, the carrots and celery, and the tomato paste, about to blend together deliciously.

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Now, fast-forward, past the actual – and really, very easy – making of Hachis Parmentier – to the writing of this post.

It suddenly occurred to me that while I could say the name of the dish,

HACHIS PARMENTIER!

I didn’t know what it meant!  I hadn’t looked that up.  And, frankly, “hachis” doesn’t sound all that French to me.  (And I’m such an authority.) 

Anyway, I looked up the words, and everything fell into place in my slow-to-catch-up brain.

Hachis refers to a minced or chopped mixture of meat and herbs.  (Corned beef HASH, anyone?  Duh!)

Parmentier refers to a food “garnished with potatoes.”

A-HA!

Well then.  I’m happy now.

And below, speaking of potatoes, there they are.

Boiling!

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Going through the ricer!

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All ready to go! 

I could eat them all, just like that.

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But no, I had to complete the recipe, and quickly, just in case the camera decided to go on strike again.

Here’s some butter and Gruyere.  Mmmm.  Shreddy.

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And now, – the assembly.  I spooned the meat mixture – the hachis, or, more accurately, the hachis avec carottes et céleri.  I don’t know if that’s a correctly constructed phrase, but it’s certainly looking like a correctly constructed meal.  Let’s continue.

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Time to garnish with potatoes.  My favorite part.  I spooned the potato mixture into the dish, on top of the meat (and veggie) mixture, and smoothed out the top.

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Then I sprinkled the grated Gruyere on top and added the bits of butter.

I really would have happily dug in right then with the same big spoon I used on the mashed potatoes moments ago, but I knew it would be even better if I waited.

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So into the oven went the Hachis Parmentier, and I scurried around in a housewifely manner, setting the table and fretting about all the dishes I would have to do later.

I don’t know if this happens to you, but it seems like no matter how simple a dish might be to prepare, if I am rushed or stressed or tugged-upon-by-many-hands-both-large-and-small while preparing the meal, I use WAAAAAAAAAAY more bowls and spoons and spatulas and knives and pans and EVERYTHING than I could possibly really need.  Really.  One bad day I used two frying pans, the food processor, seven wooden spoons, three whisks, two plates and twelve knives just to make a peanutbutter sandwich.  Just peanutbutter!  Not even jelly!  Okay, I exaggerate.  Only eleven knives.

BEEP.

That was the oven timer.  I took a peek, rotated the pan to get more even browning (oooooh, browning potatoes and cheese!!!!) and set it for another ten minutes.

After a really fragrant eternity, it was done.

And because my camera had been so, so…recalcitrant earlier, I was afraid to even switch lenses, just in case.  So the pictures I took while the Hachis Parmentier cooled a bit on top of the stove are not very good.  But still.  You get the idea.  Golden brown, cheesy, potatoey yummiliciousness.

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My husband and children were, by this time, already seated, pounding their spoons and forks against the table, demanding nourishment and threatening mutiny.

I brought the hot bowl (actually, it’s my favorite souffle dish) to the table and served it up. 

We all burned our mouths.

Joyfully.

Well, okay, full disclosure:  Alex (predictably) didn’t like the Parmentier aspect of the dish.  But he liked the hachis.

I ate his potatoes.  I hate waste.

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Ohhhh, what a tremendous meal this was! Rich and meaty, with the fluffy potatoes and the crispy golden-brown bits of cheese on top (Dorie is right – that’s the best part), hearty and filling and satisfying. 

I should have doubled it.  Or tripled it.  Maybe I’ll make it again next week. 

Yes, I think that’s a good idea.

Care to see if other French Fridays with Dorie members have waxed as rhapsodic as I have?  Click over here to check out the other posts!

 

17 thoughts on “French Fridays with Dorie – Hachis Parmentier

  1. Good job! My elder son didn’t like the potatoes too but I just mixed it up well and told him to finish it. By the way, I would say ‘hachis parmentier’ quietly to myself and ‘shepherd pie’ loudly to my family e.g. “it’s shepherd pie for dinner.” 😉

  2. I love your story! The use of extraneous utensils to prepare something simple sounds like something I would do. Also, I’m impressed how you have a “stock freezer”. HACHIS PARMENTIER!

  3. Well it looks fab 🙂

    We loved it around here. Ate almost the whole thing… just enough leftovers for me to have lunch the next day *sigh*.

    I think this is the kind of thing that I’d whip up if I had leftovers, not necessarily the kind of thing I’d go out of my way to prepare. Not that it wasn’t delicious (it was) but that shepherd’s pie has always been such a casual thing to me that I’m not sure I can justify spending an hour making one!

  4. I second the “potatoey yummiliciousness” comment. This was a WINNER all around! I have left over broth, which means one thing and one thing only – DO OVER!

  5. We loved this dish at our house as well. My daughter took some in her school lunch the next day! 🙂 Glad this was such a hit in your house. Hope the camera stops acting wonky!

  6. Love the play by play commentary! I felt like I was right there in your kitchen! and thanks for the pic of the potato ricer – I had no idea what that was so I had to improvise but it all worked out!

  7. Wow, you did have a lot going on at the time. I always find a good smack of the camera/computer helps me to get it off my chest, even if it doesn’t fix the darned thing. LOL at your husband wanting to take your book off you for pronouncing the very cool name of this dish over and over. Love your hachis parmentier – it looks fabulous, and I am glad the family enjoyed it.

  8. I’m so glad your camera cooperated because the pictures really made my mouth water! We’ve never made shepherd’s pie of any kind but this looks positively scrumptious!

    This also seems like a post that’s made for video! Reading the commentary makes me chuckle but I would probably be rolling to hear it out loud (although a bit distracted, I’m sure, and saying “That’s not at all what I thought Jayne sounded like!” LOL)

  9. “Hachis” referred to something (here, the meant), which is… well… mashed (if you judge that the meat in Bolognese sauce is mashed, you have understood the essence of “hachis”).

    For “parmentier”, it’s another story, and I got a bit disappointed when you reported that it’s an adjective for potatoed dishes. Actually, after a second thought, it is but… I will (probably) burn my dictionary if it tells me something like that again. Parmentier is the name of Sir Parmentier, the (from my own memories, wikipedia will gently and surely say that I am wrong) which was the Paris prefect or anything in the style, and was basically fond of potatoes, or give potatoes to people, or somewhat like that. And well, as a basic bourgeois of the XIX century, he has access to meat. Then, taa-da, “hachis parmentier”.

    By the way, for the recipe : use (home cooked) mashed potatoes for the top. Then, for the meat, that become a bit harder. I France, the classical one is done with “queue de boeuf cuite” (cooked beef tail – which basically is a dish sold by butcher as a meat cake with, well, meat, and some carrots and oignons… I cannot think to a “self use” of that dish, otherwise it become something in the same class as snails and frogs legs). Basically, if you haven’t, you can gladly use beef meat (matched – see bolognese above), roasted with oignons, carrots, celery, and whatever in the style (avoid to much tomatoes – just one maximal), and… two tips : make TWO meat layers, that only will be great.
    And on the tops, out of the butter orgy to put on, some treators (but that’s good) can also spread some cheese…

    The hottest it’s served, the best it is. You (I) can eat this one with a bit of butter in your plate.
    Personally, I love this “Hachis parmentier”.

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