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Hachis Parmentier is a classic French family dish made of two simple layers: ground beef or leftover meat stew topped with mashed potatoes cooked in the oven. It is the French version of Cottage or Shepherd Pie.
For the little story, the name of this dish “Parmentier” refers to Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French pharmacist, nutritionist, and hygienist. In the XVIII century, the tuber potato was considered dangerous and a source of evil, so it was only reserved for the animal food. Antoine-Augustin Parmentier is famous for popularizing potatoes in France during the food shortage in this period.
In cooking “Hachis” refers to any preparation containing food that is chopped as finely as possible. They can be herbs, fish, vegetables, meat, poultry, and the “hachis” preparation can be used as a garnish or stuffing dish.
With all the colorful winter squashes around, I wanted to give my Hachis Parmentier a fall flavor. I substituted a part of potatoes with butternut squash and a part of beef with mushrooms.
I love the vibrant color on my plate and the cheesy part on the top with a mix of grated Comté (Gruyère would be great too) and Parmigiano-Reggiano is so yummy!
In any case, a green salad makes a great side for this hearty and savory dish!
For the "hachis":
- 350 g ground beef
- 150 g mushrooms, diced
- 1 onion (medium), chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano
For the mash:
- 600 g butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 ½ pound)
- 3 medium potatoes (about 200 g)
- ¼ cup milk
- 2-3 leaves sage
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch allspices or nutmeg
- salt to taste
For the topping:
- 1 cup or more Comté cheese, grated (or Gruyère)
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 tsp herbs of Provence or Italian Seasoning
To make the mash:
- Cook the butternut squash and potatoes in a steamer or in water until soft (about 20 min).
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, pour the milk with sage leaves and thyme sprigs. When it comes to a boil, remove from the burner and let infuse the herbs into the milk.
- When butternut and potatoes are cooked, smashed them with a potato masher or food mill. Remove herbs from milk and pour with the vegetables. Add the olive oil, butter, pinch of allspice (or nutmeg), and salt. Mix well, taste, and adjust to your liking. The mash must not be too thick or too runny.
- Preheat oven at 400 F.
To make the hachis:
- In a big pan, put olive oil, add onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. and cook until soft, but not burned. Add ground beef and mushrooms, cooking until they are lightly browned. Then, add the tomato sauce and herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning). Cook for a few minutes until the water evaporates and the mixture thickens.
To assemble the dish:
- Remove the hachis from the heat, add a little bit of parmesan, mix, and put it all in an 11 x 7 inch (2 QT) baking dish (no need to oiled or buttered). Spread evenly. Top with the mashed vegetables evenly spread. Sprinkle on it some grated Comté/Parmigiano Reggiano. and Provence/Italian herb seasoning.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until melted and golden on top. Let it cool for 5-10 min. before serving.