Ten of the best hearty French winter dishes

04th January, 2016
With winter well and truly here to stay for the next few months, it?s that time of year where we dig into hearty comfort food designed to warm our bones and fill our stomachs. Though French cuisine is often related with the gourmet, France is not short of delicious dishes perfect for those cold winter nights. Whether you?re staying in our South of France villas or still enduring the British winter, here?s ten French winter warmers which are definitely worth a try.

French onion soup

Well-known outside of France, French onion soup is great either as a starter or a main. Based on a simple recipe, there are a few variations which can transform the dish, including serving with a slice of bread on top, as well as adding a layer of cheese.

Pot-au-feu

A simple-to-prepare stew which combines various kinds of meat, root vegetables and marrow bones, pot-au-feu tastes best after several hours cooking on a low heat. The meat, vegetables and broth are all served in separate dishes, alongside sides of pickled gherkins, horseradish and Dijon mustard. Traditionally, the bone marrow is spread onto toasted pieces of bread.

Aligot

Aligot is perfect for those who have a love of mashed potato. This specialty from the Aubrac region is a mixture of mashed potato, cream, butter, cheese and garlic, blended until smooth. Authentic Aligot typically uses local varieties of cheese, such as Tomme d?Auvergne or Tomme de Laguiole.

Backoeffe

Originating from the Alsace region, which borders Germany, Backoeffe is a delicious and rich stew, made with mutton, beef and pork, all marinated overnight before being slow-cooked in a casserole with a variety of winter vegetables.

Cassoulet

Another dish great for a slow cooker, cassoulet is a favourite on a cold winter night for those living in the Languedoc region, made with rustic ingredients such as sausages and different varieties of beans.  

Fondue 

Another well-known French dish, fondue has to be one of the easiest as well as the most fun to prepare and eat. Among the cheeses recommended to be melted and served with bread are Emmental, Gruyere, Beaufort and Appenzell.

Beef bourgignon

One of the most famous recipes to come from the Burgundy region, this hearty meat dish features cuts of beef, pancetta, onions, carrots and celery, all served with a rich red wine sauce.

Tartiflette

Perfect for those with a big appetite is tartiflette, which comes from the Savoie region. Tartiflette consists of a simple potato gratin with a few additions which transform the flavour: onions, bacon and melted Reblochon cheese.

Gratin dauphinoise

Originating from the Dauphine region, gratin dauphinoise is a popular side dish not only in France but internationally too. Traditionally made with potatoes, milk and cream, many recipes also suggest the addition of cheese.

Choucroute garnie

Another specialty from the Alsace region, choucroute garnie has a lot in common with sauerkraut, though instead, in typical French fashion, it?s cooked in wine. The main ingredients in this tasty, filling dish are ham hocks, bacon, apples and onions.

Image: Hotel du Vin & Bistro, available under Creative Commons