Hachis Parmentier is a classic French shepherd’s pie made with beef in a red wine sauce and the fluffiest mashed potatoes you will ever have.
By Alexandra Shytsman
January may be notorious as the month of healthier eating resolutions, but the fact is, it’s cold out here on the east coast, so it’s only natural to crave meals that are on the heavier side. Enter Hachis Parmentier – the epitome of warming French peasant food. This recipe was inspired by a visit to one of my favorite French restaurants in NYC – Buvette. A special that day, their shepherd’s pie was simply divine. The layer of beef at the bottom was so thoroughly braised that it turned into more of a concentrated sauce than just sauteed beef; the mashed potatoes on top were the fluffiest, butteriest, most cloud-like potatoes I’ve ever had. “Where have you been all my life?” I thought.
Thankfully, I was able to recreate the recipe at home. Some cooking notes: It is really important to be patient with browning the beef in batches, lest it steams and turns out dry instead of caramelizing properly. Be sure to use a good quality red wine, something you would actually drink (never use ‘cooking wine’); the flavor will concentrate as it cooks and if the wine is bad, you risk ruining the whole dish. For the potatoes, there are several steps to help achieve a cloud-like texture. The first is to use white potatoes instead of russet – they’re smoother and slightly less starchy, thus resulting in a creamier consistency. The second is to puree them in a food processor instead of with a masher; this will give the potatoes more airiness and eliminate any lumps. Lastly, do not skimp on the cream or butter. This is a French dish after all – it’s what they mean by joie de vivre.
Originally published on Chez Sasha
Alexandra Shytsman is a New York-based recipe developer, food writer, and photographer, and author of The New Baguette, a blog about plant-based cooking for beginners.