10 Most Popular French Dishes
The French are well known all over the world for their culinary expertise and the flavor and finesse of their dishes. French chefs are held in high esteem as their cooking skills have so influenced the international scene. Their recipes – from simple peasant dishes to outstanding haute cuisine – never fail to delight diners the world over. There are just so many excellent French dishes – including Steak Diane, macaroons, croissants, and sweet and savory crêpes – that it is hard to limit the selection to just ten!
In this article discover the most popular french dishes
Coq au Vin
This is one of the most popular French dishes, coming from the Burgundy region in eastern France. In the past, it was made with an old rooster, as cooking the meat in red wine definitely tenderized the meat. Today, chickens are used and cooked with mushrooms, pieces of salted bacon (lardons), and plenty of red wine – traditionally Burgundy. Recipes vary as each region uses its own local wine and yes… you can imagine what wine is used in the Champagne region! An important point is that if you are going to cook with wine, cook with quality wine, as a poor wine will not create an excellent dish.
This hearty “one pot” casserole comes from the Toulouse area in southwest France and is perfect on a cold winter’s evening. Cassoulet is intended to use leftover pieces of meat, so it is comprised of pieces of pork and pork sausages, and sometimes duck. These are cooked slowly in the oven with white haricot beans and a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
This marvelous fish soup can serve as a main dish as it is comprised of three to four different types of fish, plus a variety of seafood – prawns and mussels which are tossed into the cooking pan with their shells and with plenty of mixed herbs from Provence. This wonderful soup is one of the best popular french dishes originates from Marseille, and the only accompaniment it needs is a glass of crisp white wine and a thickly cut baguette (French bread).
Named after the tiny village in Provence (southeastern France), this delicious vegetable dish can be eaten as a main dish with bread for lunch, or, as a side to meat or fish for dinner. A colorful assortment of vegetables is oven baked to make Ratatouille, but there is a lively debate amongst French chefs as to whether or not the vegetables should be cooked quickly in a little fat first (sautéed). The array of vegetables used in this dish includes: tomatoes, aubergine, zuccini (courgette), bell peppers, onions, and some garlic. And the dish is flavored with herbs de Provence. This is one of the most popular french dishes as many families in rural areas grow their own vegetables and fruit, and vegetables are grown commercially in the southwest of the country (Lot et Garonne).
This delicious snack is always popular at lunchtime and can be bought in most street cafés and brasseries. Interestingly, more pizza is eaten each year in France than in Italy! Croque Monsieur is a toasted cheese and ham sandwich that is topped with béchamel sauce and grated cheese and browned quickly under a hot grill. If you are feeling extra hungry, you can order a “Croque Madam,” which is the same tasty combination but with a poached egg on top!
French Onion Soup (Soupe à L'Oignon)
This soup is absolutely delicious and is so “French” that you can almost imagine the onion seller on his bicycle, wearing a beret with strings of onions over his shoulder! This soup is made with a good beef stock and carefully caramelized onions which give it a very distinctive flavor. Traditionally, slices of French bread covered with melted cheese are popped on top of the soup before serving – delicious!
This famous French classic also comes from the wine-making Burgundy area in eastern France (Bourguignon is French for Burgundy). Centuries ago, the recipe was originally created by housewives as a clever way to tenderize beef and to use any unwanted pieces of meat. Burgundy is the main beef-producing area in France, known for its Charolais cattle. Pieces of beef are cooked slowly with mushrooms, pearl onions, carrots, and tomato paste in Burgundy wine that has been flavored with thyme.
The name Crème Brûlée means “burnt cream.” This popular pudding is a rich, vanilla-flavored custard that is topped with a crisp and brittle layer of caramelized sugar. This dessert is usually made in an individual ramekin or other small dish. Reference to Crème Brûlée was first made in the 17th century, and then there was no further mention of it until the recipe re-emerged in the 1980s following the popularity of cheesecakes and Black Forest gateaux. Crème Brûlée captured the imagination of amateur cooks the world over as an impressive dish to serve at dinner parties. It is regularly featured on menus across France.
This dramatic looking dessert certainly has its share of fans, as it is a wonderful combination of choux pastry, cream, and chocolate sauce. The original recipe for profiteroles appeared in France in the 16th century when it was an almond-flavored potage (soup) with small pieces of bread (profiteroles) floating on the top. There was no more mention of “profiteroles” until the 18th century when today’s recipe became popular. Like eclairs, profiteroles are made from choux pastry which is a very different type of pastry as it is made in a saucepan over heat until it thickens. Balls of the pastry are baked in the oven and then filled with whipped cream or custard, piled into a dramatic pyramid shape, and covered in a thick plain chocolate sauce. Larger individual profiteroles can be bought in many French patisseries.
This popular, savory open flan is a popular dish for parties. Quiche originally comes from the Lorraine region of France, which is in the country’s north-east corner bordering Belgium. Rural housewives started making a pastry crust and filling it with a mixture of beaten eggs, cream, and lardons (slivers of bacon) which was baked until the filling set. Quiche Lorraine can be enjoyed either hot or cold. There are many variations available today, including seafood, salmon, and vegetable versions made with mushrooms or spinach. Quiche Lorraine is made in many countries worldwide, and frozen versions are available in supermarkets throughout Europe.