This mashed potato casserole is known as Hachis Parmentier in France. It is French comfort food and appropriately easy to fix. You might find it on a bistro menu when dining in France.
When I made this easy beef recipe recently, my son exclaimed "oh, just like at the cantine!" The cantine is the French school cafeteria and apparently they serve this dish frequently. I suppose that is because it would be easy to make and serve in large quantities. Consider it for the next time you have a crowd to serve.Here you can find out more about the history of French fries and Augustine Parmentier, the potato pioneer, who is memorialized in this popular French dish.
In order to stay with the theme of my site I used an instant mashed potatoes to prepare this mashed potato casserole. I was hesitant to give these a try because purée, as mashed potatoes are called here, enjoy somewhat of a low reputation in France, which I assumed was because a lot of French people use instant mashed potatoes.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the instant mashed potatoes that I used. I paid extra for an organic brand that contained nothing but potatoes and rosemary extract (whatever that is!), and mixed it with water and milk, adding a little cream, salt and pepper at the end. Delicious. Perhaps not up to snuff for a turkey and gravy feast, but more than adequate for this casserole.
However after recently purchasing astainless steel food mill, I now only use instant potatoes if I'm pressed for time. It quickly (you just have to allow for the time for the potatoes to cook) and easily makes perfect mashed potatoes. And it's so easy to clean up that it makes less mess then if I were to use the instant potatoes. If you don't have a food mill already, I highly recomend you give one a try.
Preparation time: 30 minutes (not inlcuding making mashed potatoes)
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes 8 servings
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