Friday, October 22, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie - hachis parmentier

I recently purchased a fabulous cookbook, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Dorie is a James Beard Award-winning author and was called a "culinary guru" by the New York Times.  She is passionate about French cooking and currently lives in New York, Connecticut, and Paris.  You can get to know her a bit better at  Dorie's Blog.

When I got her book last week, I spent most of the day Saturday reading it.  Yes, it's a cookbook.  So to some it may seem odd that I would "read" it.  But I did.  From cover to cover.  Dorie tells great stories interspersed with her recipes.  Now that I've spent some time in France, some of the stories had more meaning for me.  After reading her book, I decided that I wanted to cook a lot of the recipes from it.  Like, maybe, all of them!  As luck would have it, I stumbled across French Fridays with Dorie where more than 900 people are doing just that.  A new Dorie recipe is featured each Friday.  Members of the site cook the recipe and post a link to their own blog each Friday, showing their adventures with cooking the Dorie recipe.  This sounded just like what I was looking for.  I think it's going to take a while to get through the entire book at the rate of four recipes a month, but it seems like it's going to be a fun journey.

Guess what?  Today is Friday and I'm posting my first French Fridays with Dorie "assignment."  Today we are cooking hachis parmentier (better know to you and me as Shepard's Pie).

Here's all the ingredients.

The first step includes boiling the cube steak and veggies and seasonings for an hour and a half.

This is what it looks like while it's starting to boil...gotta say...not too appetizing.

Dorie's recipe calls for sweet or spicy sausage as well as the cube steak.  This definitely seems like it has great potential!

 Here's the filling waiting for the topping!

The potatoes for the topping...waiting to boil!'

The completed hachis parmentier before it's baked.  It looks and smells so yummy at this point, I seriously contemplate sneaking a few bites before popping it in the oven (however, I do resist).

Here's what our lovely dinner looked like straight out of the oven!

And on the plate

The potato layer was a little overwhelming!

Along with Dorie's recipe, I made our favorite Pioneer Woman Buttered Rosemary Rolls.  These are the best rolls in the world.  They are drenched in sea salt, butter and rosemary.  This is what they look like before they've risen.

(Can I tell you a little secret?  These rolls are super easy, because you start with a store bought frozen dough!)  Make some for your family soon...they'll love you forever.

Here are my baked rolls...don't they look yummy?  No, you say?  They don't look quite right, do they?  Alas, my rolls didn't rise.  I didn't give them enough time because I lost track of time as I was making the hachis parmentier.  Sadly, this happens to me sometimes.  The nice thing about these rolls is they usually still taste totally yummy even when you screw them up! But, I am they have less calories when they don't rise...since they're about 1/4 of the regular size?  I'm counting on it, since I ate three!

The verdict is in...the dinner was a bit bland.  I'd read on the French Friday's site some reports from others that it was bland...but someone else said it was too I tried to be careful and not over season.  Ethan said the sausage was really good in it, but that I should have used spicy sausage (which I did...guess we need more spicy than than I thought!)  We did all end up cleaning our plates after a liberal dosing of salt and pepper at the table, but that could have been the fact that James and I didn't have lunch today!  One down...299+ to go!

Addendum...we ate the hachis parmentier for lunch again on Saturday (as we had quite a bit left) and it was a lot tastier.  Sitting overnight in the fridge really enhanced the flavors!  It was gobbled up with a "thanks Mom" from Ethan and a "this is good" from visiting sister-in-law Jess.

Check out all the other FFwD participants' hachis parmentier stories here.  There are some terrific blogs in this group!


Sarah said...

I'm certainly not a chef but am opinionated! The potato layer does look a bit overwhelming. You could liven up the potatoes by doing garlic and cheese in them with some seasoning... I think that I would increase the quantities in the meat/veg layer as well and maybe add peas for the color. But it does present nicely and look appetizing. I like trying new recipes but am always disappointed when I've gone to all the trouble and nobody really likes it. You never know until you try though.

Steph said...

Sarah, the potatoes do have gruyere on top (made them very tasty!). The french don't usually have any veggies in their hachis parmienter, but I left in the veggies from making the broth. I agree, more veggies would have been nice. At least everyone ate it! Hope all is well on your side of the world. :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the group! Your dish looks beautiful, even if it didn't live up to expectations.

Steph said...

Teresa, thanks for the welcome and the comment on my dish. Actually, it tasted a lot tastier the next day!

Cakelaw said...

Welcome to FFwD - your hachis parmentier looks excellent. I think your rolls look pretty good too - yeast is a tetchy beast, and doesn't always co-operate.

Steph said...

Cakelaw, thanks for the welcome! I'll post a picture when the rolls actually rise...they are as beautiful as they are delicious!

Michelle said...

I am so excited to see the direction that your blog is going in. I can't wait to see all of the yummy food that you are going to make. Dinner looked good, It looks like something my family would enjoy.