A hachis parmentier is a french version of what is called shepherds pie in the english speaking world. Shepherds pie is traditionally made with lamb whereas as hachis parmentier is usually made with beef or duck. Hachis comes from the french verb hacher to chop or ‘mince’ and the word parmentier comes from Antoine-Auguste Parmentier the man who introduced potatoes to France.
Parmentier was trying unsuccessfully to introduce potatoes to France by planting them in Parisian gardens (then only only considered fit for animals) as he considered that they were the answer to the problems of hunger in the country at the time. He finally managed to get the then king Louis XVI on his side – the king agreed to send royal guards to protect the potato plantations knowing full well that this would only kindle the interest of the local population. And indeed the locals wondered about this ‘potato’ that was so precious the king had the plantations guarded. The guards were instructed to turn their backs while the locals ‘stole’ the plants and in no time at all the potato had become a popular and widespread food item in France! A very clever advertising campaign 🙂
Traditionally there aren’t any vegetables in hachis parmentier but I add some to give a bit of colour and texture to the dish. Its a great way to use left over veg, potatoes and even meat from the previous days dinner.
For the meat sauce :
- 500g minced beef
- A large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2/3 carrots finely chopped
- Handful of peas
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 350ml beef stock
- Salt and Pepper
For the potato topping :
- 1kg potatoes
- 250ml warm milk
- 50g butter
- Salt and Pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- In a saucepan cook your finely chopped carrots and peas or any other vegetable you have – green beans, leek etc. (already cooked left over veg works well with this recipe)
- In a large pan fry the onion & garlic in some olive oil and a knob of butter on medium heat for about 5 minutes
- Stir in the minced beef and cook well on a relatively high heat setting
- Add salt and pepper
- Sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and mix well
- Pour in your beef stock stirring continuously
- Mix in your pre-cooked chopped vegetables and set-aside
- In the meantime, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes or so until cooked
- Strain and mash the potatoes
- Season with salt and pepper (and nutmeg if using) and add the butter and milk (adding more if necessary to get the texture you like)
- Butter a large dish and add a layer of meat. Top with the mashed potatoes.
- Add a few pieces of butter on top and cook in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes before placing under the grill for 5 more minutes.
- Serve warm with a green salad. Delicious!