Le Berger's Pie

By • January 8, 2013 0 Comments

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Author Notes: In French? This is a Parmentier de Canard- a French spin on the classic shepherd's pie.
Widely found in many brasseries and bistros about the streets of Paris, as well in a plethora of French cooking bibles, this pie trades traditional lamb or beef for meltingly tender duck. I have used duck confit, which I have stretched with carrots, parsnips, mushrooms and peas and pearl onions into enough for four comforting, colorful suppers. In effort to pack in as many veggies as possible, cauliflower comprises more than half of the creamy mashed potato topping.

None of the proportions are or should be exact. Go with more potato or more cauliflower, toss in the neediest vegetables in the fridge- c'est la vie. Isn't it what it is all about after all?

Bon Appétit
Cuillère

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Serves 3-4

Whipped Cauliflower and Potato Topping

  • 1 medium/large golden potato, diced small.
  • 1/2 a small head of cauliflower, separated in small florets
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Filling

  • 1 leg duck confit
  • 1 celery stalk, diced fine
  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 parsnips, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced (I used both yellow and orange carrots)
  • 1/2 cup peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup cooked diced potatoes (I had leftover roasted potatoes that I tossed in)
  • 1/2 cup pearl onions (if using fresh, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes to soften and mellow them)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, minced
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan, for topping
  • snipped chives/parsley, for garnish
  1. Begin by boiling the potato in salted water until not quite tender. Add the cauliflower and continue to simmer until both cauliflower and potato are thoroughly tender and soft. Drain. Meanwhile heat the milk, garlic and rosemary until hot. When potato mixture is ready, add in the liquid (holding the garlic and rosemary) and mash until it is to your liking. Season with salt and pepper - reserve.
  2. Add carrots and parsnips to the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender. Drain, reserving the stock.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat- lay in the duck leg, skin side down, and let it crisp on both sides. Reserve the duck and pull into shreds, pouring off all but 1 tbs. fat from the pan.
  4. Add the shallot, garlic and celery to the duck fat in the pan. Saute for a few minutes before adding in the mushrooms, herbs, and pearl onions. Cook the mushrooms until fragrant and softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste, cooking about a minute. Add in the reserved chicken stock and cook to thicken.
  5. Add the reserved vegetables, duck, and peas to the sauce. Transfer to a greased casserole dish, or individual ramekins, and spread the cauliflower mixture on top. If you use all potato, you could also pipe the topping on top, but the cauliflower tends to make the topping a bit too creamy for this (which is never a bad thing). Sprinkle the top lightly with parmesan.
  6. Bake the pie for about 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the pie is heated through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before getting your spoon :)

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