By doing that then any cooking juice coming from the cooked beef will be absorbed instead of forming a pool of liquid on the bottom.
Hachis Parmentier, A French Classic
Hachis refers to the beef. Viande hachée means ground meat in French. The parmentier tells you that this dish contains a layer of mashed potatoes. But if you see ‘parmentier’ on a French menu, it doesn’t mean at all that it is this classic hachis parmentier. The lower layer will consist of a protein such as shredded lamb, confit duck, smoked trout or salmon. Even a vegetarian parmentier exists, for instance with wild mushrooms.
So for example ‘parmentier de canard’ means it contains a layer of confit duck, covered by a layer of mashed potatoes. And ‘parmentier d’agneau’ is a lamb parmentier. Which is also a very popular dish in France: usually leftover roast lamb meat is used in it. And that’s what is so nice: you can incorporate leftovers in a parmentier!
Back to this hachis. It might look or sound quite familiar maybe because this French hachis resembles a traditional British shepherd’s pie. The only difference here is the fact that this French version contains beef, whereas a shepherd’s pie is usually made of lamb mince.
My recipe is the classic one. I love to serve it with a simple vinegary green salad.
Love French classics? Then also try my bernaise sauce!
- 2 ½ lbs ground beef (1125 g)
- 2 lbs potatoes (900 g)
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- 1 cup dry white wine (240 ml)
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- a handful fresh parsley chopped
- a handful cheese grated
- 1/2 cup whole milk (120 ml)
- Peel the potatoes and dice them into small bits. Add them to a large casserole, add a dash of salt and lots of water until the potatoes are submerged.
- Place it over high heat until boiling. Cook until tender and then drain them. In the meantime peel the onion and garlic. Add them to another casserole together with 2 tablespoons of butter and the bay leaves.
- Place it over medium heat and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and the white wine. Season with a pinch of pepper, salt and nutmeg.
- Stir well and then add the minced beef.
- Break the mince up a bit and stir well again. Put a lid on the pan and let the beef cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir regularly and ad extra wine or water if necessary. Make sure the beef doesn’t burn. It should be nicely moist in the end, the wine should have disappeared more or less.
- Check the seasoning and add extra pepper, salt or nutmeg to taste if necessary. Stir in the freshly chopped parsley.
- Take the beef off the heat and let it cool a little. In the meantime add the drained potatoes back to the casserole you cooked them in. Add the rest of the unsalted butter.
- Mash the potatoes up. Season with a good dash of pepper, salt and nutmeg. Pour in the whole milk.
- Mash them again until creamy. Then spread a little layer of the potato mash in a baking dish (this will absorb any juice coming from the cooked beef).
- Top with the cooked beef mince.
- Finish with the rest of the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake the parmentier in a preheated over at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve hot.