Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hachis Parmentier

As I was driving to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for this dish, I turned on the radio and listened to Dorie Greenspan describe the making of the dish to Michele Norris on NPR.  That was a little weird...

My recipe is adapted from a version in Dorie's must-have new cookbook Around My French Table.  The book is filled with recipes begging to be cooked.  Hachis Parmentier is kind of a French Shepard's Pie.  Dorie's version calls for the potato crust to be topped with Gruyere, Comte, or Emmenthal.  I used a sharp cheddar because the last time I used Gruyere, my 11 year-old thought it was a little "skunky".  She appreciated my substitution and really enjoyed the finished dish.

Hachis Parmentier

For the Beef and Broth:
1 pound beef chuck, cut into 3/4" pieces
1 onion
1 carrot, cut into 1" pieces
1 rib celery, cut into 1"pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
6 cups water

Place all of the ingredients in a heavy pot and bring to a boil.  Skim the scum off the surface, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.

Pick the meat out of the pot and set aside to cool.  Strain the broth but reserve the carrot pieces.

When the meat is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.  Chop the carrot into small pieces.

For the Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 tsp tomato paste
salt and pepper

Butter a 2-quart oven safe casserole.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces.  Cook until it is just pink.  Add the reserved beef and the tomato paste and give it a stir.  Add 1 cup of the broth and bring to a boil.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Add the carrot to the pan, mix it in, then put the filling in the casserole.

For the Topping:
2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
1/4 cup cream, warmed
3 T butter, softened
3/4 cup sharp cheddar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Add the potatoes to a pot of salty water.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain the potatoes then run them through a ricer into a bowl.  Whisk in the butter, milk and cream.  Season with salt.

Spread the potatoes over the filling making sure to reach the edges of the casserole.  Top with the cheese and place on a center rack in the oven.  Cook for 35 minutes or until the cheese melts and the crust begins to brown.  Serve.