Lamb and Spinach Parmentier

I created my Vadouvan spice blend for Daniel Boulud many years ago. It is always exciting to see what new uses the chefs at Daniel have for it as time goes by. Jean Francois and Eddy created this Parmentier (France’s version of shepherd’s pie), which draws from the French-Indian influence of the Vadouvan N28 blend.

Vadouvan N.28 – Recipe by Jean Francois Bruel and Eddy Leroux, from “The Art of Blending” by Lior Lev Sercarz

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

13       medium Idaho potatoes (4 pounds), peeled and diced

5         sprigs thyme

3         garlic cloves, peeled and halved, plus 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt

10       Tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

Freshly ground pepper

3         Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the casserole

1 ½    cups finely chopped onion

5         ounces baby spinach

1         pound ground lamb (preferably shoulder meat)

3         Tablespoons Vadouvan N.28 spice blend

1          teaspoon red pepper flakes

½       cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make the potatoes: Place the potatoes, thyme and halved garlic in a stockpot and cover with Water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Drain the potatoes and discard the thyme, then pass the potatoes through a food mill or mash until smooth. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and chopped garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, lamb, Vadouvan spice blend and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the lamb is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and grease a casserole or 8-by-12-inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread half of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Top with the lamb mixture and spread into an even layer. Add the remaining mashed potatoes and smooth the top with a spatula.
  1. Sprinkle the top of the potato pie with the Parmesan and bake for 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil the potato pie until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.