Despite new trends, hype and marketing, tradition has never been stronger. In France, good food still means authentic cooking by using natural products from diverse regions. This is how we celebrate human being by offering the best food to all our senses. Cooking home-made food and eating at the table make your appetite grow stronger. The challenge is to combine ingredients together to get the best taste out of them. However anyone from anywhere can explore the world of French cooking. Since moving here 4 years ago, I have really enjoyed exploring the traditional dishes which the French enjoy.
Here are the top 10 most popular recipes in France:
Indeed roast chicken is not a notorious French recipe but cooked everywhere around the world from Asia and Africa to America. However it is the most popular French dish. Roast chicken is not stuffed inside. The secret is to baste the poultry several times during roasting with butter and cooking oil and to add an onion in the roasting pan. Roast chicken is traditionally served with potatoes and green beans.
The most famous beef stew in France. Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional recipe from Burgundy. A recipe that French people use to cook at least once every winter. The beef meat is cooked in a red wine sauce, obviously a red wine from Burgundy. Bacon, onions, mushrooms and carrots add flavour to the recipe. But thyme, garlic and beef stock are essential to cook a good boeuf bourguignon.
A typical summer recipe very popular along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast. Mussels are fresh and cooked in a white wine sauce with parsley, thyme, bay leaf and onion. It takes only 5 minutes to cook a tasteful mussels mariniere. The secret is to season carefully the meal and to discard any mussels that don’t look good enough.
Although sole is an expensive fish, the taste is so elegant that it is considered as the noblest fish. Sole meuniere is a recipe from Normandy. The fish is cooked in a butter sauce with a little bit of flour and lemon juice. Sole is traditionally served with rice or green vegetables.
A typical family meal coming once again from Normandy. Pot au feu is a boiled beef with pork, chicken and vegetables. It takes about 4 hours an a half to cook as the beef has to simmer slowly to extract all its flavor. Pot au feu is also called Potee Normande in France.
Quite similar to the German sauerkraut, the French sauerkraut called choucroute comes from Alsace. However the French recipe can be traced back to 6 centuries ago ! Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage. Commonly sauerkraut includes sausages, pork knuckle and bacon. Two essential ingredients are alsatian white wine and juniper berries.
Called blanquette de veau in France, this is another stew recipe from Normandy. The veal meat simmers in white sauce – as blanquette from blanc stands for white in French – with mushrooms and onions. The white sauce is made of egg yolks, whipping cream and lemon juice. Veal stew is usually served with rice.
Another stew but this one is made of lamb meat. It is also called spring lamb as it comes with green vegetables available in spring. Navarin comes from navet which stands for turnips in French. Other ingredients are tomatoes, lamb stock and carrots. This stew takes less time to simmer than any other.
A strange recipe that English people often confuse with their traditional breakfast! A traditional meal from south west of France. Each village has its own recipe but it always includes beans and meats. Cassoulet is a rich combination of white beans and depending on the village lamb, pork, mutton or sausage meat. Cassoulet is the cornerstone of the French paradox study describing why people from south west of France suffer less than others from infarcts.
Bouillabaisse is closely linked with the city of Marseilles on the Mediterranean coast. The recipe is a fish soup from local fish and seafood products including crabs, scorpion fish, monk fish and others. Provençal herbs and olive oil are essential. For a long time, the recipe was a secret jealously kept by the people from Marseilles.