The Perfect Three-Course, French Inspired Feast

29th June, 2017
When in France, we are often captivated by the smells which float past us from traditional and intimate restaurants. French cuisine is one of the best in the world and often referred to as ‘the backbone’ of most cuisines in the Western World. The influence that French food has had is renowned, and this is what makes French food and dishes so delicious.

Typical French dishes rely heavily on local products, from fresh apples, to berries, leeks, mushrooms, and stone fruits, which are amongst the most frequently used produce. Poultry, beef, lamb, and veal are readily available year-round; game meat is especially popular and plentiful during the hunting season. Additionally, France has an abundance of cheese and wine which it is renowned for.

When it comes to cooking the perfect French dish, it can often be slightly terrifying, as many people believe that there needs to be a high level of standard and flair. However, this is most certainly not the case. There are many authentic French dishes which can be whipped up at home, or even when you are staying in one of our luxury villas, France. We have put together this delicious three-course meal which is sure to wow your friends and family.  

Starter: French Onion Soup



Ingredients: 

40g of butter
3 Thinly sliced onions
2 Tablespoons of water
20g of plain flour
1.5L of chicken stock
100ml of white wine
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread or a sliced baguette
60g of grated cheese, such as Comte or Gruyere

Method:

1 – On a low heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions, stirring constantly for 15 to 30 minutes or until they start to brown. Then add two tablespoons of cold water and cover for a further 15 minutes.

 2 – Next, add the flour and stir until the onions are coated and cook for a further five minutes stirring constantly. Then add the stock, wine, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently.

3 – While the soup is simmering, toast the bread, until it is very crispy, and place one slice in each soup bowl. The, add the soup over the bread and the bread should then rise to the surface. Next, add the grated cheese on top of the bread, and place under the grill for 3 to 5 minutes until it has melted.

Main: Coq Au Vin



Ingredients:

25g of butter
150g of peeled shallots (whole)
5 Crushed garlic cloves
150g thickly cut bacon
Fresh thyme
350g of button mushrooms
500ml of red wine
500ml of chicken stock
2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
6 Chicken thighs
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Method:

1 - Heat a casserole dish on a hob, and add butter and the shallots. Cook the shallots until browned then stir in the garlic, bacon and thyme and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

2 – Next, add the mushroom then turn up the heat and add the red wine, chicken stock and balsamic vinegar. Then add the chicken thighs, bring the sauce to a boil and then turn down until it is simmering and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked. 

3 – Next, add the parsley and a little bit of butter and season with salt and pepper and serve with a dressed green salad, mash potato or bread. 

Dessert: Crêpes Suzette 



Ingredients:

For the crêpes:
100g of plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon of caster sugar
2 Large free-range eggs
200ml of milk
30g of butter, melted
Vegetable oil

For the sauce:
75g of butter
2-3 Tablespoons of caster sugar
1 Medium orange, zest only
The juice of 2-3 medium oranges
2-3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Cointreau, plus extra for flambéing    

Method:

1 – Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl, then make a well in the middle of the mixture, and add the eggs and two tablespoons of milk; mix this together until smooth. Pour in the remainder of the milk into the bowl, whisking continuously until you have a smooth batter mix. Pour in the melted butter and whisk until it is combined.

2 – Heat a crêpe pan over a medium to high heat and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Use a ladle and pour the batter mix into the pan and move it around until the mixture coats the bottom of the pan in a thin, even layer. Cook the crêpe for around 20-30 seconds, or until the crêpe starts to turn brown.

3 - When the crêpe has cooked on one side, turn it over and cook for a further 20-30 seconds, or until golden. Place the cooked crêpe onto a plate, then wipe the pan with the oiled kitchen paper and repeat the process until all the batter is used.

4 – For the sauce, using a medium heat melt the butter in a pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the sauce to a boil, and stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Fold the crêpes into quarters and lay them in the sauce, ensuring that the sauce soaks into them.

5 – To flambé, heat a ladle by holding it over a flame or resting it on a hob. Remove from the heat before adding a further 2-3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Return to the heat to warm and carefully set light to it. Pour the flaming liquor over the crêpes and serve immediately once the flames have gone out.

Image credit: Jeremy Keith, stevendepolo and Scott Veg
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