A few years ago, John and I had the good fortune to have a week´s barge holiday in France. Our boat wasn´t ready for us upon our arrival so we went off to find lunch and, my lunch karma, as always, worked wonders and brought us to the lovely Auberge La Beursaudiere. I chose the duck parmentier and was wowed, so much so that I still crave it.

Searching online for this French version of Shepherd´s Pie did not yield any recipe resembling my experience so I started experimenting and now offer you the results in the form of a “method” rather than a “recipe”. 


  • 1 confit of duck leg
  • mashed potato
  • mashed sweet potato
  • or two other contrasting roots of your choice
  • onion
  • mushrooms
  • brandy
  • red wine
  • herbs
  • cream


While the finely chopped onion, followed shortly by the chopped mushrooms, are cooking in the oil of your choice, take the meat off the leg.

When onion/mushroom mixture is well cooked, deglaze with a goodly splash of brandy. (stand back!)

When the fire abates, cover with red wine, add bayleaf, thyme, etc. and leave to gently simmer and reduce a little.

Add the meat in bite sized pieces and bring to a simmer for a few minutes then turn off the heat and leave sit and absorb all the flavours.

Strain the juice into a saucepan leaving the duck mixture in the strainer.

the sauce

What really made the Auberge version was the delicious sauce that surrounded it. Simply add a little cream to the juice from the duck mixture, heat slowly and check the seasoning. It should be divine. 

assembling the dish

Grease a stainless steel cooking ring of the right size (mine are 8 cm diameter). Put a layer of one root at the bottom, well pressed down. Then duck mixture to the top of the ring. Put your other root, hopefully of a contrasting colour, perched on top. Rough it up with a fork. 

I sprinkled the top with a crunchy topping of breadcrumbs, parsley, olive oil, garlic.

Bake either in the ring or remove in a 200 degree (C) oven for about half an hour till nicely browned and crinkly on top.


Pour a goodly amount of the sauce on a warmed plate. 

Manoeuvring gently place the ring or ringless duck on the side of the sauce, remove the ring, add some lightly steamed veges on the side and bingo. A beautiful presentation. 

another view

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