Thursday, October 28, 2010


 I'm a bit behind on my French Fridays with Dorie cooking schedule, but I am still plowing ahead with my head down, making, mixing, stirring and baking. It's been a lot of fun so far and this week's Hachis Parmentier (which I kept inexplicably mispronouncing as HASHISH Parmentier, a worrisome thing) was another recipe that interested me: the ingredients used exactly mimicked my own homemade meatloaf recipe, which I naturally serve with mashed potatoes on the side instead of on top. I was curious to see how this would play out.

  In looks, it reminded me a lot of my own Comforting Beef Pot Pie, with a golden mashed potato crust instead of a biscuit crust. My beef pot pie, which is a wintertime staple around here, has a mushroom gravy supporting the beef instead of the beef-bouillon-and-tomato-paste interior of the Hachis Parmentier, SO AS YOU CAN SEE IT WAS JUST A FASCINATING CULINARY ENDEAVOR AND STOP SNORING BECAUSE IT HURTS MY FEELINGS.

   The Hachis Parmentier went together in three steps, one of which I thankfully got to skip because I made a double portion of mashed potatoes to serve with yesterday's dinner of chicken and noodles, which made me feel like I'd been gifted with brilliant forethought. Which....usually isn't the case. Anyway, the first step was to assemble an aromatic beef broth by cooking the meat with parsley, garlic, onion, thyme, salt and pepper along with some celery and carrot chunks. I also threw in a little red wine, as Julia taught me to do. By the way, I opted for Dorie's easier version and used ground beef instead of a more expensive cut.

  The second step was to cook the sausage in some olive oil until it was still pinkish. I used the same spicy pork sausage that I use with the ground beef in my meatloaf. The recipe asked me to stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste (I make a lovely spicy tomato sauce for the top of my meatloaf) and then add the cooked ground beef mixture and a cup of the broth. Easily done. That whole bit went into my buttered Pyrex casserole dish -- I wish I had a gorgeous French oval like the one pictured in the cookbook -- and into the oven at 400 degrees for half an hour, where it smelled so delicious, my husband could even smell it even though he's suffering from a terrible head cold.

  In the picture above, you can see the crispy golden mashed potato crust with the filling bubbling underneath, just as I pulled it out of the oven.

  And here it is, in all its Shepherd's Pie....I mean Hachis Parmentier glory, looking savory and delectable on Meelyn's dinner plate. We all ate it with appreciation, but agreed (to my pleasure) that we all like my beef pot pie better. This, to our taste, was really bland and required a lot of salt, plus a generous application of hot peppers to ooomph it up. It was good and filling and we enjoyed it, but agreed it was a dish that they would never request and I would never voluntarily make. I found this very strange since, as I mentioned, the ingredients were almost exactly what I use in my meatloaf. We always find that very flavorful. Eh bien, I think the French population needs to learn about my beef pot pie and maybe my meatloaf too - it would rock them from Provence to Normandy, and both recipes have the added benefit of being easier to throw together than this was. Alors!

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