Hachis Parmentier

French Fridays with Dorie

Hachis Parmentier

If you do an image search of Google on this week’s French Friday’s with Dorie assignment Hachis Parmentier (AH_she Par ment AY) and also on Shepard’s Pie, you will see that these two dishes are essentially the same idea…or not…depending on your ethnicity. (Go ahead, click the links…I’ve done the work for you!) If you are English you would be keenly aware that Shepard’s Pie is made with lamb. It would be quite correct to put veggies in it. The Brits call the beef version of this dish Cottage Pie. Here in the US where we seem to have less ‘rules’ it seems to be made with whatever you have on hand, even turkey. As you must know by now, the French version will certainly taste better for no other reason that it is French and they insist on such things. Dorie has suggested to us subtly that if you were thinking of adding in vegetables (such as from the stock you were simmering) the French would rather you didn’t as that is not “traditional”. (These days, especially with the Chunnel putting them within a few minutes by train of each other they strive for even more ways to differentiate themselves from the British!) I do happen to think that this particular rule is well played by The French. This is meant to be simple dish of simple pleasures and if you start putting too much crap in it you will complicate things. (Besides, the French would also just laugh at anyone who thought adding a carrot that had been boiled out for over an hour would actually make the dish better!) A quick turn in the kitchen to take what you have on hand, and turn it into a tasty, easy, reinvention that wreaks of casual elegance and personal style. Having written that, I can’t help but think that this dish is some sort of French metaphor for their entire philosophy of life.

At its core, this dish is about working your leftovers into something marvelous. (How can this not be some life lesson in wrapped in a recipe?) Getting down to my FFWD assignment I did feel a little silly tackling this one ‘from scratch’. How many dishes call for you to make leftovers from scratch? This one did and while it was well worth the trouble I suspect the dish is just as good using leftover beef, ground beef, beef stock, etc. that you have on hand.

Hachis Parmentier

Suffering from really low light in my house once the sun goes down I just couldn’t make this dish look as good as it tasted given I was forced to photograph with existing light. Getting the photo this week was the hardest part of the assignment!

Hachis Parmentier As usual, the group has asked us not to post the recipe in the hopes that you will buy the book. Dorie herself however released the recipe during her interview with Poor Man’s Feast and you can find it here.

Hachis Parmentier


My own personal kitchen notes on this one remind me that I did not use a bouillon cube as suggested but instead I added a glop (a glop is equal to a heaping tablespoon in my parlance) of beef demi-glace to the broth just as the meat was finishing its prep cook and the broth. When eating I could tell this was a great idea as the beefy flavor profile was perfect and held up nicely to the Italian pork sausage that was used. Also, I ran the potatoes through a ricer which gave them a very delicate texture that seemed a bit too fine for this dish. (I was probably the only one at the table to give this a thought, however.) I think this was a step I didn’t really need and could have just done a regular whipping given the hearty nature of this dish. Do a lot of tasting along the way to adjust the seasoning levels as you go so you don’t end up with a bland dish. Nobody likes that! Update: Dorie made this on NPR’s All Things Considered today (11/1/10). The link to the story and the audio is here.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. Yours looks so meaty and so good! I like the idea of adding beef demi-glace to the broth.

  2. When I made my recipe, I just whipped the potatoes with an electric mixer. I will admit that I did wonder if I was missing something by not running them through a ricer. I’m glad you commented on that! I liked the rustic nature of this dish as well. And, despite your lack of natural light, your photos are still amazing!

  3. As usual I love all your thoughts.Hmmm a metaphor for life. I like that. By the way your potatoes look great. I happen to love my food mill and then adding the cream and butter by hand. I think it makes for a lighter and less stiff version. Demi glace is a great idea but I never seem to have it on hand. Do you have a brand you like or do you make your own?

  4. Your photos came out great. I just mashed my potatoes well with a masher, and the dish came out great.

  5. Great photos. I will try the demi glace or the boullion cube next time.

  6. Great photos! I used beef base instead of a cube, and the flavor was very nice. I also riced the potatoes … I loved that texture!

  7. Your photos are great, they didn’t look like they were shot in low light at all! Making your dish from scratch means you have homemade broth and that is always better than store-bought broth, isn’it? 🙂

  8. I attempt a turkey version with Thanksgiving leftovers every year. Now I see where I have been going wrong. Thanks. GREG

  9. Yours looks delicious! It looks so good and meaty. 🙂 I think your photos came out great. I had a hard time with the low light (dark!) as well.

  10. I feel your photography pain. I’m in the same boat here in Alaska. Getting photographs of dinner this time of year is nearly impossible.

  11. Yea, I think it was hard to get a picture of, no matter what. Although yours looks better than mine 🙂 Thanks for the informative post.

  12. I actually really enjoyed making this from scratch, while knowing that the recipe is versatile enough to use with leftovers, ground meat or whatever else you might come up with. Great post!

  13. I think your photos look great! I used a potato ricer and think it works beautifully for making mashed potatoes.

  14. I had a tough time getting a decent shot of this, but your pictures really look great!!

  15. Great photos – nice to see the interim steps shown as a “foursome”.

  16. A cold rainy day . . . on such a day I was served a most befitting meal. My dearest chef I will gladly accept your invitation for “french peasant food” anytime.
    Hachis Parmentier: amazing gourmet comfort food.

  17. Oh to be a French peasant! GREG