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Stop the gachis! Eat some hachis!

My dear, poor, non French people,

I’m so sorry. Désolée, vraiment. But once again, I have to tell you that we French people are superior… You know me, I don’t like to brag… It’s not my fault if French people always know better!
Take recycling for example. I find it funny to see all the media attention nowadays on waste and how to not put everything in the garbage bin. Rien de nouveau sous le soleil! (Nothing’s new under the sun):  French cooks have been doing it for ages.

My grand-mother Georgine (84 going on 85 and still cooking) is the perfect example. When you’ve been a farmer all your life, you know how precious a “fruit of the earth” is: you don’t throw easily a vegetable you gave time and sweat to make it grow… Especially when you get the miserable wages a retiree farmers’ widdow get in France.
“Je jette rien”, she always says…  From the water to the leftovers, she never throws anything. I guess she would be very proud of this recipe: stop the gâchis (the waste), eat some Hachis!

Le Hachis Parmentier

IMG_2933

2 pounds Meat
2 pounds Potatoes
1 cup milk
4,5 oz of butter
A pinch of grated cheese
Salt, pepper, and Nutmeg

Many French delicacies are actually re-use from leftovers. Hachis Parmentier is one of them: for this one I used the Boeuf Bourguignon leftover I had from last video recipe.
But you can also use ground beef meet, or duck confit for example…

This recipe bears the name Parmentier in honour of a great French man: Antoine-Augustin Parmentier.
Right before the French Revolution, this pharmacist discovered the way to prevent the numerous famines that were so recurringly happening in the country: to grow and eat potatoes.

At that time, people were totally disgusted with this strange root that was only fed to the pigs. It was even forbidden to grow any at some point, because it was believed potatoes could cause leprosy!
But Antoine-Augustin Parmentier discovered that it was of a great help to fight disentry, and went on a fight to make it legal and developped all over France.
After many years of lobbying, he managed to convince Louis the XVIth (yes, the one we beheaded, but that’s another story).

But nobody wanted to eat potatoes.
Food for pigs? Non merci!
So they changed its name into “Pomme de terre” : apple of the earth, so romantic!
But non. 
Toujours non… 
So they asked the king to set up a new “potato trend”, by wearing a potato flower “à sa boutonnière“, at his buttonhole.
So if the King said it, did the French follow?
Non non non!
They had rather die of hunger than eat it..

 

And that’s when Parmentier showed that he had genius.
He asked the King for a small piece of land North of Paris.
He grew potatoes there, and surrounded the field by armed guards, as if what they were protecting was very valuable…
Parisians grew suddenly very interested in this precious plant, and started to steal it at night when the guards were not looking…

Et voilà!

That’s how the love between France and Potato started, and how French Fries were born…

La recette

  • Preheat the oven at 350°F
  • Grind the leftover meat of the bourguignon
  • Boil the potatoes for at least 20 minutes, then peel them and mash them with milk and butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Spread a layer of potato purée in a large casserole dish, then spread the meat
  • Then spread the rest of the purée on the meat.

  • Add some grated cheese, and hop, au four! To the oven.
  • Cook for at least 45 minutes.

Et voila!

 

Now have a piece of this delicious French comfort food…
Isn’t it great to recycle? Merci encore Mr Parmentier!

Bon appétit les amis!
Cécile

PS:  If you happen to go to Paris, you should visit the Pere Lachaise cemetery.
Not because you’re a strange and morbid Goth, or a big Jim Morisson fan (Yes, he is buried there, even if some pretend that the casket was smaller than he was): but to go to Mister Parmentier’s tomb.
Notice the wild flowers all around. The gardeners of the cemetery never touch them: they are potato flowers planted by fans all over the world who want to pay him an hommage.

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3 Comments On This Topic
  1. Tracey Morgan posted
    March 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Please can you send me your newsletter or any updates.

    • Cecile Delarue posted
      April 3, 2013 at 2:12 am

      Of course Tracey, you can subscribe to the mailing list on the frontpage!

  2. Llyane @ FrenchOnSkype posted
    September 10, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Delicious and pretty and lots of information.
    Merci, Cécile :)


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