Who’s who – Le Hachis Parmentier

This week I have been attending my first charity ball in London. And it happened again : all the guests were obviously thrilled by the character on stage. Yet I had no clue who was the person causing the excitment…
This is not the first time, and it will certainly not be the last, that I am reminded how shallow my knowledge of UK socialite life is.
I have know quite a list of famous people I have met who were total nobodies to me … Among them star chef, a couple of models and anchormen…

My ignorance was no big deal to me, until we met someone who did not know our national icon singer Johnny Hallyday. We were in shock and ended up downloading all his albums, in a patriotic gesture to compensate for his lack of notoriety in the UK.

Now, let me test your general knowledge : do you know Antoine Parmentier ?
You should ! The work of his lifetime had major consequences on our lives. Thanks to him potatoes became essential in European diets in 1800’s. An A-lister of his time ! He even got a dish named after him: The Hachis Parmentier.

Ingredients
500g beef blade ( paleron in French )
I also like to replace beef with duck
2 carrots
2 spring oignons
1 celery branch ( I’ll have to hide that away from Flo who does not like it )
800g potatoes ( Ratte du Touquet = firm potato with a slight taste of chestnut)
2,5 dl milk
200g butter ( can be revised down )
Salt : coarse and table salt
Pepper: black in grain
Breadcrumbs
Coriander, garlic, thyme, parsley

Recipe
1. The meat
Put the beef blade in a casserole dish, cover with 1L water, salt and bring to boiling point.
Remove the foam, and add the aromatics : carrotts, celery, half the thyme, pepper grains, coriander, 1 garlic clove.
Let it cook about 2 hours until the meet is very soft.

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2. Mashed potatoes
Wash the potatoes without pealing them. Put them in a pan filled with cold water, some coarse salt, the second garlic clove and the rest of thyme. Boil and then cook slowly with a lid for 40 minutes. You can check the potatoes are cooked with a knife.
Once potatoes are ready, peel them right away.
Warm the milk.
Mash the potatoes and then heat gently the mash in a pan to remove excess of water. Pour in the milk little by little, and then add the butter in small dices (100g will do the job). Mix to get a smooth mash and check the seasonning.

Once the meat is cooked mince it. Keep the stock. Fry the spring oignons and add the minced meat. Use a portion of the stock to wet the mix and let it simmer for about 15min.

In an oven proof dish : pour the meat preparation and add the layer of mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Let it in the oven until it is colored nicely.

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And for the leftovers, a little soup will do the trick…

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