If potatoes are one of your all-time favorite foods, you might feel sad to hear that they were off the menu in Europe for quite a long time, especially in France, where potato cultivation was actually forbidden.
In America, potatoes were proving incredibly popular, while in Europe, only Spain and Ireland grew potatoes – and, in fact, Ireland relied on potatoes so much that at the start of 1845, a failed potato crop led to the declaration of The Great Famine.
But somewhere along the line, the general European opinion changed when it came to the humble potato.
People began to realize that potatoes were not only delicious, but filling, making them a great wheat substitute.
Antoine-Augustin Parmentier was one of the first chefs to experiment with potato in recipes, and many of his dishes are still used today.
You’ll be unsurprised to know that one of these dishes is Gratin Parmentier.
Gratin Parmentier is a surprisingly simple recipe made by combining meatballs, potatoes and bechamel sauce (the stuff you find on top of lasagne).
You’ll probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboards or fridge already, and there’s nothing too difficult about this dish.
Ready to get started?
Ingredients you will need:
- 3 potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft
- 1 white onion
- 1 package ground beef
- 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
- pinch of paprika
- 1 large bag of shredded mozzarella
For the bechamel:
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 4 cups of milk
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
Here’s what to do:
1. Prepare the bechamel sauce.
Take a medium saucepan and put it on medium-low heat. Add the butter and wait until it’s melted, then add the flour and whisk well until smooth. Continue to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is light brown in color.
2. While your mixture is cooking, bring the milk to a simmer in a separate saucepan.
Next, when your flour and butter is browned, pour in the milk, bit by bit, whisking as you go. When the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, continue to constantly stir and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to your taste with the salt and nutmeg.
3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Set your milk mix to the side, then take a big mixing bowl. Add the ground beef, parsley, and paprika, followed by salt and pepper. Combine everything together, incorporating all the ingredients fully into the meat.
4. Slice the boiled potatoes.
Then arrange them carefully all around the bottom of a pie or pasta dish. Make one flat layer on the bottom of the dish, and another one around the sides.
5. Take ice-cream scoop-sized portions of the meat mixture and make meatballs.
You should have just enough for about 15 medium-sized meatballs. Add them on top of your potato layer.
6. Make potato walls.
Once you’re done with the meatballs, take your leftover potato slices and use them to make vertical “walls” all around your meatballs. Pour the sauce on top of each meatball, then finish with the mozzarella.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
And that’s it! Once your dish is out of the oven, leave it for 5 minutes to cool, making it easier to serve.
Gratin Parmentier is a truly simple dish to make, with no hidden surprises or challenges.
But it’s so unique that many people would have never thought to make it! If you’re feeling hungry for this cheesy, potatoey, meaty dish, why not give it a go tonight?
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