Hachis parmentier, a French version of the shepherd’s pie.

This dish is very simple and popular, and usually is made from leftover meat. This might be a recipe for reusing your Holiday’s meat leftover. Also, it is one of this mouth watering comfort food dish, with a hint of sophistication! I say it is perfect for the fall and winter season. (and with a glass of Merlot…)

Parmentier by François Dumont

Parmentier by François Dumont

The origin of the Hachis Parmentier date from the late 18th century. Antoine-Auguste Parmentier, trained as a nutritionist, realized the potential of the potatoes as a nutrient rich vegetable. Until then, this vegetable was not popular, and seen as inedible. This discovery was particularly important as it enabled poor families to survive through starvation periods.

The Hachis Parmentier is therefore made of minced meat, and mash potatoes. This dish is very flexible, and allows many variations based on what you have in the fridge basically. In the recipe below, I used ground turkey with onion and parsley, and a simple mash potatoes homemade with butter. Because the dish is whole, I usually serve this with a simple batavia salad. I like it with provence style tomatoes too, to add a complementary acid taste with it.

Recipe

  • 4 servings
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Easy, you can involve your children in mashing the potatoes 🙂

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The Pot-au-Feu (Pot on the fire): a warming family beef and vegetable stew

The “Pot-au-Feu”‘s origin can be found from the 17th century in France, about the same period as the “Poule au Pot”. This is a peasant dish, that later became popular in richer circles too. The basic recipe uses low cost meat, mostly beef and winter vegetables. We can assume that in the 17th century, it was an opportunity to eat the least presentable or leftover pieces of meat, as well as using whatever vegetables were easily grown in the family garden. According to chef Raymond Blanc, pot-au-feu is “the quintessence of French family cuisine, it is the most celebrated dish in France. It honours the tables of the rich and poor alike.”

Le Christ chez Marthe et Marie, detail, Jos Goemaer. circa 1600.

Le Christ chez Marthe et Marie, detail, Jos Goemaer. circa 1600.

Growing up in France, I definitely relate my memories of Pot-au-Feu to a Sunday lunch with the family gathered. The leftover were eaten cold the day after. (I am not crazy about having it cold, but since my very French husband loves it, I guess there is something worth a try!) Traditionally, we had first a bowl of the broth as a starter and then our serving of stew with all you can eat strong Dijon mustard and gherkins. As a child, I was not very attracted by the bone marrow that my mum and dad enjoyed spreading on warm toasted country bread, with a little coarse salt. But as a grown-up, I get it… I would say it is the French equivalent to Pork rinds…

This Pot-au-Feu recipe is broken down in easy fail-proof steps. I am doing my best for anyone who follows the steps to feel confident in the result. IT WLL TASTE WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, I wrote the optional ones in blue. Since there is not much short-cut to the cooking time, I am suggesting that you either: Read the rest of this entry »