Hachis Parmentier

From Gail Norton

2015 Jan/Feb

The best way to describe this dish is that it is a French Shepherd’s Pie – but more rich and wonderful. Ask your butcher for 6 pieces of boneless beef short rib meat cut into about 4”x4” cubes. You can prepare the meat ahead and then assemble the dish later.


For the braise:

  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 6 pieces boneless beef short rib
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 4 c. rich veal or beef stock

For the sauce:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • For the rich mashed potatoes:
  • 6 large starchy potatoes
  • 2 T. salt
  • 1 c. crème fraîche
  • 1 c. grated gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 c. salted butter
  • salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Add olive oil to a Dutch oven large enough to hold the beef and the liquid and heat it over medium heat to quite hot. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then brown it thoroughly on each side. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than sear – cook it in batches if you need to. Set aside the browned meat.

To the same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until the water in them is released. Turn down the heat and let the onions get soft and transparent. Add the remaining ingredients, the browned beef and the wine and stock.
Cover the pan and put in the oven for 10 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool a bit, then put it in the fridge to cool for several hours or overnight. Remove the layer of hardened fat on top. Remove the meat from the dish, strain the sauce into a saucepan and reduce it over medium heat until it’s thick. To make the sauce, heat another pan and add the butter and olive oil until it is hot. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until soft and all the water has been released and the onions are transparent. Add the reduced meat sauce and cook at a gentle boil for 5 minutes.

Shred the beef with a fork into a large bowl and add the sauce. Place the mixture in the bottom of a 9×12” casserole dish and aside while you prepare the potatoes.

To prepare the potatoes, fill a large pot with water, add the unpeeled potatoes and salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they’re tender. Drain them and allow them to cool until you can handle them, but they’re still warm. Remove the peels and place the potatoes in a large bowl, then mash them with the crème fraîche, gruyère and butter. Add salt to taste. You may need to add more cheese and crème fraîche. You want a thick, luscious and tasty mash.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put a layer of the creamy mashed potatoes on top of the shredded meat and bake for 45 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.