Serves: 4-6
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation time (meat filling): 15 minutes
Preparation time (potatoes): 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes 

Author and teacher Mardi Michels shares her recipe for what is essentially the French version of cottage pie – a perfect winter warmer for a cold day!

Hachis Parmentier is usually made from leftover cooked beef, cut into small pieces (hachis refers to food that is diced) and topped with creamy mashed potatoes. In this version, we’re using minced beef so you don’t need to wait until you have some leftover beef to make this dish.


There’s some debate about whether the filling should include vegetables (diced carrots, turnips, or peas, for example) and here, I’ve added some peas and carrots for a pop of colour (and to round out the meal). Any diced vegetables will do, though, so use what you have to hand. 


Ingredients

For the beef filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (200g), finely diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500g minced beef 
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 150g frozen peas and carrots 
  • 1 tsp dried Herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the potato topping

  • 900g Yukon gold potatoes or similar, roughly chopped
  • 60ml heavy (pouring) cream (min 35%)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • A handful of chopped, fresh curly parsley

Directions

For the beef filling

1Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet.

2Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes (until the onions are just starting to soften but not colour).

3Add the beef and, using a wooden spoon to break the meat up, cook for 3-4 minutes until it’s just starting to brown.

4Add the tomato paste, beef stock, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then add the peas and carrots.

5Reduce the heat to medium simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and place the meat filling in a deep, ovenproof casserole dish (approx. 2-litre), making sure to distribute the mixture evenly over the surface of the dish.

For the mashed potato topping

1Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water (just enough to cover) and place on high heat. Bring to the boil then cook a further 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are “fork tender” (you should be able to mash them with the back of a fork against the side of the pot). This will take approximately 20 minutes total.

2Drain the potatoes into a colander.

3Place a metal sieve over the pot and using a spoon, press the potatoes through the sieve to remove lumps from the potatoes. Do not place the pot on the heat again.

4Add the cream and butter and use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula and mix until smooth and creamy.

5(optional) Place the potato mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

Assemble and bake the dish

1Pre-heat the grill to high (200˚C/ 400˚F).

2If you’re piping the potatoes, pipe rosettes over the top of the meat mixture. Alternatively, spoon the potatoes on top of the meat filling and smooth the potatoes to the edges.

3Place under the grill for 15-20 minutes. The potatoes will start to turn golden and you’ll likely see the filling is bubbling away peeking out under the potatoes.

4Top with the chopped parsley to serve.


About the author  

Mardi Michels is the author of In the French Kitchen with Kids (Appetite by Random House, 2018) and the popular blog eatlivetravelwrite.com. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she teaches French and cooking at the elementary school level and adult cooking and baking classes. She is a full-time Francophile who spends as much time in France (the Southwest) as possible! 

A version of this recipe appears in Mardi’s book In the French kitchen with kids (Appetite by Random House, 2018).

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