Okay, until just now, I felt like I was a pretty well-read food lover. Then I read that this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Hachis Parmentier. Gesundheit? I had never heard of this mystery dish. What strange concoction could it be?
Turns out, it is simply a rustic, French style shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. Okay, I like shepherd’s pie. Dorie’s recipe called for one pound of beef and another half pound of sausage to make the filling. Herein lies my problem. I don’t eat much meat and a “meat pie” didn’t exactly call to me. However, I make a vegetarian shepherd’s pie that my family loves. So, I sat down with Dorie’s recipe in one hand and my recipe in the other and set about combining the two into a completely new dish. In the end, I substituted root vegetables for the beef and mushrooms for the sausage.
The recipe was somewhat time-consuming. It required several hours of cooking, but some of the steps could be done ahead of time. Dorie includes information regarding this in the sidebar of the recipe information. While time-consuming, this recipe was simple to assemble. It did not require fancy skills or cookware. If you can use a knife and an oven, you’ll have no trouble producing a beautiful dish.
Dinner was delicious. This was one of those meals that made the day’s cold, damp weather seem a little less oppressive. My family wasn’t ready to throw out our old version of shepherd’s pie quite yet, but I can see that this version will be put into the fall and winter dinner rotation. With any luck, I’ll keep working on my version until it surpasses our old shepherd’s pie recipe. It will be tough duty, but I’m willing to take one for the team.
I have to admit that at first, I felt guilty about making any changes to Dorie’s recipe as it appears in Around My French Table. Then I thought about Hachis Parmentier and it’s simpler named shepherd’s pie. They are peasant dishes meant to be made with what was on hand-a clever way to use leftovers that were insufficient to feed the family on their own. With a little kitchen moxie, you could turn the leftovers into a deliciously hearty filling and then by adding potatoes, produce a meal hearty enough to nourish your family.
It’s a bit of a magic trick. Take something that can’t be called a meal, add a few ingredients that you have in the root cellar and produce a gourmet feast. I took a deep breath and realized that was exactly what I had done. True, I had gone about making Hachis Parmentier in a slightly different way than she may have intended, but I don’t think that Dorie would mind.Pin It