7 French Dishes You Will Surely Love
France is well-renowned across the world for its excellent food, wine and cheese. When I’m pushed for just seven dishes to recommend, I decided to let public opinion decide for me. I decided to go for some of the most well-known and long-renowned. I’ve selected a soup, some main meals and of course something from the dessert menu to whet your appetite!
I mentioned popularity earlier on. If you go to France, you will be hard-pressed to find any town that does not have its own creperie! You’ll be able to obtain crepes from sweet vendors and restaurants alike. Would you like to make these at home? Crepes are a fairly common French dish, very easy to make at home, which would also be a very French way to make them.
So what are they? Crepes are very thin pancakes you can have with a variety of toppings. They can be sweet or savoury. They were once just eaten with sugar and in fact you can still have them with sugar and lemon. Does rose petal whipped cream appeal to you, or maybe chestnut cream? Children will love chocolate spread or jam on the top. The adults will enjoy the traditional accompanying drink of Cider. Alternatively try it with lightly grated orange peel and liquor.
Some people enjoyed crepes with sweet cream cheese, beer chocolate and cinnamon or orange ricotta. Alternatively try cinnamon with marscapone .
Some crepes have a fuller content, like spinach with chicken and basil, or steak with mushrooms and spinach.
SOUPE A L’OIGNON
This is onion soup as you no doubt guessed, and it carries a beautiful fragrance while it’s cooking. Like many of France’s most famous meals, it began as a poor man’s dish. It dates back to Roman times and it achieved great popularity in the eighteenth century. Your key ingredients are beef stock, crunchy croutons and melted cheese to pour over the top. During the onion carmelising process you can also add sherry or brandy. Children are not always keen on alcoholic ingredients in their meals, but adults will love them!.
Most people have heard of this one. It is literally ‘Bourguignon Beef’. It’s a typical dish to find in Burgundy and can be consumed with lots of French red wine. It’s basically a stew that is slow-cooked. You use braised beef cuts together with seasoned root vegetables, mushrooms and red wine. It’s nice with mashed potatoes, toasted farro risotto or even polenta.
COQ AU VIN
Yes- you’ve probably heard of this one too! Its title literally means ‘rooster in wine’. It was originally devised for cooking the tough meat of an old bird, but the dish has improved since then!
Historically it is said to date back to a Gallic victory over Julius Caesar. The dish contains off the bone chicken or capon, but you can have pork or bacon (lardons) if you prefer. Add the usual French ingredients of mushrooms, onions and garlic and then a touch of brandy for that extra taste.
It takes a long time to cook, so it’s not something you’d want to make when you get home from work with a hungry stomach. There is an ‘instant’ pot version, however, which actually takes 55 minutes to cook.
This is another slow-cooked dish. It’s made with pork or duck confit which is stewed with white beans. For alternative meat, why not try sausage, goose, partridge or mutton. It’s great when you can use the same recipe but change the overall flavour by varying the meat. In France they sell it in jars and cans.
Once again it began as a poor man’s dish, and it is actually still quite cheap to make. It’s a course stew.
You basically shallow fry vegetables (including eggplant), and then put them in a casserole dish and bake them. It’s a vegetarian/vegan dish that can contain tomatoes, courgettes, leafy green herbs and bell pepper. Enjoy it with red wine (no surprises there!) and crusty bread.
The dessert is basically a caramelized apple pie. You cook the apples in sugar and butter together with pastry.
Legend has it that it was discovered by the Tatin sisters. There is said to have been an accident when taking the item out of the oven. To further explain — it’s an ‘upside-down cake’ that you reverse after cooking!
I hope you’re hungry now! The French create great food whether it’s a starting soup, main course, dessert or local wine. Many ingredients are common in French dishes, as they like to use locally available items. There’s so much variety here, from using different meats to changing the topping on your crepe. You’re on a great journey and these signature dishes are a great place to start.