French food is world-famous for being the height of luxury and taste. There are many options for family breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts to add a bit of French flair to the dinner table. Many of these delectable dishes can also be adjusted to become vegetarian or vegan with a bit of help from plant-based products.
A lot of people think that French food is complicated to create. While, like every cuisine, there are more complex dishes than others, you might be surprised by how easy to whip up some of these tasty dishes are. Here are some of the best French dishes to delight the entire family.
Croque monsieur is one of the ultimate French comfort foods. It is a hot sandwich made with ham and cheese, much like the popular American staple, the grilled cheese. The sauce for this dish is béchamel which you can either whip up yourself using butter, milk and flour or get a sachet mix to make the process even simpler. You can use whatever cheese you like, though gruyere is used traditionally. All you have to do is assemble the sandwich and pop it in the oven to get warm, melted and delicious.
Beef bourguignon is another incredible French comfort food. It is a hearty stew that was once the go-to meal for French peasants. It is simple to make, with all ingredients going into one pot to simmer for a few hours until the beef falls apart and the veg is tender. When possible, it’s best to use fresh herbs for this dish, but dried can do in a pinch. Red wine is another crucial ingredient for this dish, giving it additional depth of flavor and richness.
If you want a veggie or vegan option, you can easily do so by replacing the beef with a plant-based substitute or adding some extra hearty root veg. Pair with mashed potatoes for the perfect filling winter meal.
Crepes are a delicious, thin pancake-like dish that can be either sweet or savory. You make crepes using the same ingredients as any other pancakes but substituting self-raising flour for all-purpose. This stops the crepes from rising, resulting in thin, crispy treats. You can pair them with cheese, meats or mushrooms for a savory snack or opt for whipped cream, strawberries or powdered sugar for a sweet treat.
French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a classic in French bistro cuisine. It is also relatively low effort for the incredible results. You should pair your French onion soup with a sliced and buttered baguette to get the full, delicious French experience.
Prep time can be lengthy for this soup, as the onions will need plenty of time to caramelize, creating a delicious flavor. You will first need to caramelize the onions on a low heat before adding beef broth to the mix. Once the soup is cooked, you can add some gruyere or another cheese to complete the dish.
Ratatouille is a delicious summer vegetarian dish. The main flavor of this dish are the summer vegetables. They are baked to perfection in a delicious crushed tomato sauce. There are various veggies used in this dish, but typically, sliced tomato, eggplant and zucchini are the most popular. Take a look at the ratatouille recipe from A Clean Bake to create a delicious summer dish for the family to enjoy.
Chicken Provençal is another excellent one-dish recipe. The sauce for this dish is tomato-based and includes garlic, rosemary and olives. Sometimes anchovy paste is added to create an even deeper flavor. You begin this dish by browning the chicken. Once this is done, take the chicken from the heat and start making your sauce.
Once the sauce is well heated, add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for around 30 minutes until cooked through. You can serve Chicken Provençal with potatoes and greens, or consider adding pasta to the dish.
Gougères are a delicious French pastry made with cheese. Made with choux dough, these cheesy pastry balls are a great addition to any family meal or as a tasty snack. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can add some tasty fillings to the pastry, such as meat or sauteed vegetables.
Gratin Dauphinois is a technique for cooking potatoes. Potatoes are thinly sliced and arranged in a gratin dish. They are then covered with a sauce created from milk and cream, along with some seasonings like garlic or thyme. The sauce is then poured over the potatoes, cheese is added and baked in the oven until the potatoes are cooked, and the cheese has turned golden brown.
Crème brûlée is a delicious French dessert. They can be a bit of a challenge to get right, but everyone in the family will love these sweet treats. The kids, in particular, will enjoy the smashing of the caramelized sugar on top to reach the gooey, tasty custard below.
You can make the custard by hand or simplify the process by buying store-bought, but often it is well worth the effort to make it by hand. The topping of caramelized sugar is the hardest part of this recipe, and you may need to invest in a blow torch or long-stemmed candle lighter to get the right effect.
Coq Au Vin
Coq au vin is a dish made with chicken. Made similar to the beef bourguignon, but in this, the primary ingredient is chicken rather than beef. It can be made with white wine to create a delicate white sauce or a red wine for a richer taste. You can add whatever veg you like to this recipe, but some of the most popular include mushrooms, carrots and celery.
There are countless French dishes to suit many tastes and cooking abilities. Adding variation in your diet is crucial to ensure you get a healthy balanced diet and to educate kids about cultures worldwide. Many people shy away from cooking French cuisine, considering it too complex, but there are plenty of delicious options that you can easily fit into a busy family meal schedule.