I remember watching Julia Child on PBS when I was young and was fascinated by her and the dishes she cooked. I grew up eating a pretty basic American diet of the 60s and 70s so the French recipes she cooked were unfamiliar and maybe even a little exotic to me.
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Julia Child brought French cooking to Americans via her television show, The French Chef:
…and her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
If you’ve seen the movie, Julie and Julia, or read the book, you’ll know the story. Better yet, read Julia’s book, My Life in France. It’s a fascinating story of an American woman looking for something to keep her busy after moving to France with her husband. She attended the Cordon Bleu and cooking became her life’s passion.
If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to cook some classic French recipes, you can’t go wrong with the original source, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s worth the price of the cookbook. But if you don’t have it, you can still enjoy some of those delicious French dishes at home. Here are some to get you started.
8 Classic French Recipes
Chicken in wine…what could be more basic? Or more delicious?
Tip: If you have leftovers you can turn it into a delicious soup the next day. Puree the broth and vegetables, add chicken cut in small, bite-size pieces, bring to simmer and heat through. Turn heat to low and stir in some heavy cream.
I lost count of how many times my husband ordered this in Paris. Unfortunately I’m allergic to mushrooms so I wasn’t able to indulge. However, I’ve made it at home, sans mushrooms, and if there’s a better dinner on a chilly, Autumn evening I’m not sure what it would be.
Unless you have a ready source for duck confit or preserved goose and goose fat, Julia’s traditional recipe is not something the average American cook is likely to tackle. However, at its core, cassoulet is a slow cooked dish made with white beans and meats. Here is a more approachable option:
Sometimes simple is best. A perfectly roasted chicken, crispy-skinned potatoes, tossed salad and a bottle of wine make for an easy yet elegant dinner. Buy the best chicken you can find for this one, preferably organic and fresh (not previously frozen).
I’ll never forget the first time I tasted French onion soup. It was in New Orleans on our honeymoon and we both loved it!
This is the dish that made Julia fall in love with French food.
Perfect for a hot summer night.
Of course, we must have a dessert. This simple cherry clafoutis uses a handful of simple ingredients to create the perfect finish to a meal.