Shepherd’s pie is one of the great comfort foods. This simple and satisfying dish is usually made with ground beef or lamb, but in our version the meat of choice is duck confit. Tender and rich, the duck meat pairs well with the creamy potato topping. This recipe will soon become a favorite.
Known in France as “hachis Parmentier,” after the Frenchman who tirelessly campaigned to convince his countrymen to eat potatoes (learn more in this post), the shepherd’s pie is a humble food. Originally made with leftover meat and vegetables, and covered with a blanket of mashed potatoes, it’s also a complete and convenient meal.
Duck Confit & Porcini Shepherd’s Pie
Borrowed from the peasants and the pubs, the super-easy recipe is flexible. Try our version with truffle butter and porcini mushrooms for added umami. It’s a winner, for lunch, dinner, or any time the urge hits you.
- ½ jar Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- ¾ cup boiling water
- 4 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 2lbs), peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons Black Truffle Butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons half & half, divided use
- Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- ½ rib celery, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ container Duck and Veal Demi-Glace + ¼ cup water
- 4 Duck Confit Legs, skin and bones removed, rough chopped
- ½ cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
- Quickly rinse porcini mushrooms under cold running water. Place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with ¾ cup boiling water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease casserole or gratin dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
- In a large pot of salted water, boil potatoes until fork tender; drain. Squeeze potatoes through a ricer, into a large bowl. Fold in truffle butter and 4 tablespoons half & half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
- In a large pan over medium flame, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Add carrot, celery, and shallot; saute until softened but not browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms from water squeezing excess liquid back into the bowl. Set mushroom water aside. Roughly chop mushrooms then add them to the pan along with the thyme leaves. Saute about 2 minutes more. Raise heat to medium-high. Add remaining tablespoon of butter. Once butter is melted, sprinkle flour over vegetables, mixing to coat; cook stirring constantly until flour turns golden, about 2 minutes. Add demi-glace/water mixture and reserved mushroom water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce thickens about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining half & half and chopped duck confit. Cook until duck is heated through, about 2 minutes more.
- Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Spoon reserved potatoes over the duck mixture and using a spatula, spread into an even layer. Top with gruyere. Bake until dish is hot throughout and cheese has browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with green salad.
Tip: Don’t throw out the duck confit skin – make duck cracklins. Crisp the discarded skin in a skillet over medium-high heat, turning to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.