Tuesday, March 15, 2011

French Comfort Food

Hachis Parmentier is the French version of shepherd's pie. I have added a few of my own twists to the recipe.

You can use any leftover steak or roast for this recipe. I never have leftovers since I give so much away, so I had to make a chuck roast. If you go this route, use a roast with the bone in. My roast was still frozen when I started this recipe.

The first step was to marinate the roast. I added a whole head of garlic, a bunch of fresh thyme and 4 bay leaves and 3 onions cut in half and studded with 8 cloves.

Then I added a large bottle of merlot and placed it all in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day I separated the onions and herbs from the meat.

I saved the marinate.

The roast must be totally dry so I placed it on some paper towels.

Then I patted the top to remove as much moisture as possible.

In a heavy dutch oven, I browned about 6 pieces of thick bacon.

I seasoned the roast with lots of black pepper, salt and Montreal steak seasoning.

Then I sprinkled the roast with smoked sweet paprika.

Using the bacon grease left in the pan, the roast is seared over high heat on both sides.

You want a dark crisp crust.

Then I cleaned out my vegetable bin. You can use any kind of veggies you have on hand. The more vegetables, the more flavor.

Once the roast is browned on both sides, add everything back to the pot.

Add some beef stock to the marinate so the roast is almost entirely covered.

I cut the celeriac into four pieces but all the other veggies went in whole. I also added som beef demi-glace.

I found a cabbage too so I decided it should become part of the finished dish. I sauteed the cabbage with salt and pepper and some butter until it softened. This was set aside for the moment.

Then I threw some carrots and celery into the pot. This cooked at 275 degrees for about 4 hours.

After the 4 hours I removed and discarded most of the vegetables. Save some of the onions and the head of garlic.

I removed the meat and simmered the liquid until it reduced and thickened to use as gravy.

Now I finally have the leftover beef I need for this recipe.

Make sure to remove the marrow and add it to the gravy.

Chop the roast into small mince. It should fall apart easily.

Squeeze the garlic out of it's skin and add it to the meat.

Chop up the original cooked bacon and add it to the meat.

I cut up some of the onions and added them to the mix as well.

I refrigerated everything overnight so I could remove the fat from the gravy the next day.

The following day, I brought everything back to room temperature

I browned some sausage in a heavy pot.

Then mixed it into the shredded beef.

About a cup of tomato paste is added to the meat mixture.

I grated 4 cups of gruyere cheese.

Then using small shell pasta, I made a gruyere mac and cheese with fresh tarragon.

I spread the meat mixture, moistened with some of the gravy, in the bottom of a gratin dish.

Then added a layer of the sauteed cabbage.

Then topped it with the mac and cheese and baked it at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.

You can serve this with the additional gravy.