10 May 2011

Rabbit and potato pie

I haven't posted about food and cooking in a while. Actually, the pictures in this post date back to April 22-24. I had made rillettes de lapin a few days before, and some of the meat was still in the freezer. Since rillettes are nice shredded meat, well seasoned, I thought I could make the rabbit equivalent of a shepherd's pie — called un hachis parmentier in French — with some of them.

Hachis parmentier with rabbit and vegetables

Here's what you do — this is not so much a recipe as an idea or method. To start, sautee some vegetables — sliced onions, julienned carrots, and sliced fresh mushrooms — with pepper, dried thyme, and bay leaves as seasonings.

Cook vegetables...

When the vegetables have begun to cook, add in the shredded rabbit and let it cook for a few more minutes. The rabbit is already cooked, and the vegetables will finish cooking in the oven with mashed potatoes, so the mixture doesn't need to cook for long on top of the stove.

...and then add the cooked, shredded rabbit meat

Boil some potatoes and mash them with butter and cream or milk. Make a stiff mash that will hold its shape, and season it with pepper, a little salt (depending on the saltiness of the rabbit and vegetable mixture), and a pinch of grated nutmeg.

Mashed potatoes

Put the rabbit and vegetable mixture, or part of it, into the bottom of a baking dish or terrine. Spoon mashed potatoes over the top and then spread them over the whole surface. You can use as thin or as thick a layer of potatoes as you want — same with the rabbit and vegetable hash.

A layer of the rabbit and vegetable mixture,
and on top a layer of mashed potato

If all the ingredients are still hot, put the terrine or terrines in a hot oven and cook them until the potato is nice and browned. If the potatoes and hash have cooled down, put them in a medium oven so that everything will have time to heat through again before the top gets too brown.

A variation on shepherd's pie

At this point, you can spoon the pie onto plates and eat it hot. Don't burn your mouth!

Rabbit and potato pie

If you let the potato pie cool completely in the fridge, you can cut thick slices of it, re-heat them in the oven, and serve the rabbit and potato pie as you see it in the first and last pictures above. It looks fancier but tastes the same.

And of course you can make the same kind of pie using shredded cooked beef, pork, turkey, duck, or chicken. Corned beef would be good. Or smoked chicken.


  1. As far as the "hâchis parmentier" is concerned, and as I recall it to be in my youth, there was one layer of ground meat between two layers of mashed potatoes, or to be fancier, two layers of meat between three layers of mashed potatoes.

  2. Bonjour CHM,

    I think your hachis parmentier is a complicated version. In the Robert, first, hachis doesn't have an accent on the A:

    (XXe). Hachis Parmentier : hachis de boeuf recouvert de purée de pommes de terre.

    Your hachis parmentier sounds more like a sort of lasagna. Are you sure you don't have Italian ancestors?

  3. I am definitely trying this with chicken and remembering it at Thanksgiving for turkey leftovers!
    It really looks elegant in your photos. I need to remember the bay leaf (am almost out of them;( and the nutmeg for the potatoes.

    My mom made a lot of turkey hash with onions, potatoes and leftover turkey. I don't think I ever saw a bay leaf until I was in my twenties.

  4. Evelyn, good idea for the turkey leftovers. I just saw an article in the NYT about cooking turkey -- parts, not whole birds -- year 'round. Turkey legs and thighs are really good.

  5. It looks lovely... and as you say, you could make it with all kinds of meat.

  6. Craig, yes. What's nice about the rabbit rillettes is that the marinade becomes a nice aspic, gelée, when it gets cold.

    CHM, I see several of my old French cookbooks describe a hachis parmentier being made out of alternating layers of meat hash and mashed potato. And then there's this one from the Larousse Gastronomique:

    Hachis de bœuf à la Parmentier – [Faire un hachis avec des restes de bœuf bouilli.] Le dresser dans des grosses pommes de terre cuites au four, évidées en partie. Saupoudrer de chapelure. Arroser de beurre fondu. Faire gratiner au four.

    That's another variant...

  7. I once ordered un hachis parmentier without a clue as to what it might have been. Imagine my surprise when it came to the table.

  8. You know the difference between cottage pie and shepherd's pie? I
    We English use minced beef for cottage pie, and minced lamb for shepherd's pie (hence the shepherd)!
    In the UK we call those wild roses "dog roses" - no idea why. Also the green lizard Bertie caught - they can be quite nasty - my dog got bitten by one some years ago and his paw swelled up enormously, causing a visit to the vet. We used to have quite a few behind the house in Parcay, and one once attacked the wooden rake handle our neighbour was using and he couldn't get it off. Apparently their teeth are so aligned that it is impossible for them to let go. Don't get bitten by one!

    1. What do you call it when you make it with rabbit?

  9. Your forgot the crucial step - score a pattern on the top of the mash with a fork to get crispy bits in the crust!

  10. Oops, Autolycus. That's just like me, to forget the crucial step. Damn. We ate it anyway.

    Starman, did you like the hachis parmentier?

    Anonymous, I've never seen a green lizard except the one Bertie brought in. Today he brought in a bird.


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