Favorite French-Style Recipes
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Entertaining guests is one of my favorite things to do, especially when those guests are family. My favorite cuisines are Italian, Mexican, and German, but I also enjoy making French dinners. Below are some of my Favorite French-Style Recipes that include appetizers, breads, main dishes, and desserts.
As a child, I didn’t grow up knowing anything about Julia Child. But now as a 50+ year-old woman and recipe blogger, I adore her unique style and unadulterated passion for food. That woman loved butter! And so do I.
In my opinion, it’s nearly impossible to read any of her cookbooks or watch her cooking shows without coming away desiring to make one of her recipes. Have you ever watched Julie and Julia? My point exactly!
Want to impress your guests? Nothing says fine dining more than an exquisite French dinner, even one served at home. If you don’t believe me, please watch this dining review from our oldest daughter at Monsieur Paul in the France pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World.
Now, I know, an American trying to reproduce a French recipe can seem intimating. But really, it’s just cooking. Finding ingredients, measuring, and putting them all together to make a seemingly difficult yet wonderful dish or meal.
If I can do it, so can you. And if you need more help or instruction, I encourage you to read some of Julia Child’s cookbooks. They are amazing. So, without further ado, here are my Favorite French-Style Recipes!
Begin with Appetizers
No matter whether you are serving American, Italian, Mexican or French cuisine, we all like to start the party with an appetizer or two. An hors d’oeuvre, if you will.
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade – Tapenade is a French term for a mixture of pureed ingredients that usually include olives, capers, and anchovies. This recipe uses roasted red peppers, artichokes, and capers as the main ingredients and is fabulous when all combined.
Herbed Parmesan Spread ~ AKA Boursin – Boursin cheese (fancy cheese) is a soft, creamy, buttery cheese flavored with herbs and garlic. It was first created by Francois Boursin, a Frenchman in 1957, but is now widely available in the US. This homemade version is every bit as good.
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks may take a little bit of time, and can be messy, but believe me, these cheese sticks will rival any you’ve eaten at a restaurant. The breaded crust is seasoned to perfection, and then you bite into the melted ooey-gooey cheesy yumminess. Ahhhh. Your taste buds are in heaven.
Moving on to French Breads
I love to bake bread, so of course, French-style breads were on my radar even at an early age. I can only imagine the joy of walking into a French bakery in the wee morning hours to buy freshly baked bread. But alas, here in rural Kansas, my home kitchen will have to do. I’m certain the wonderful smell is the same.
French Bread with Dipping Oil – Our family loves this bread and dipping it in spiced oils. Buttery tender bread with a golden crust. And it makes two loaves, so there is plenty for everyone or to take to a potluck dinner.
Onion Crescent Rolls is a fantastic recipe I like to make for my family that is amazingly easy to prepare. So light and soft–like little fluffy pillows! I hope you’ll take the time to try these and that you’ll love them as much as we do!
Rustic Sourdough Baguettes are so delicious. Our family loves when I make them. Hard and crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and just the right taste of tangy sourness.
What could be more French than a croissant? These Sourdough Chocolate Croissants (aka pain au chocolat) are out-of-this-world delicious, bakery-style beautiful, and simply wonderful. They are so flaky, they fall apart at the touch. Lots of buttery layers. With chunks of yummy dark chocolate tucked inside the center that leaves you licking your lips for more.
Breakfast Dishes and the Main Entree
My Quiche Recipes
Quiche, anyone? We’ll begin here with recipes for breakfast, although technically, they could also be served for dinner.
Spinach Quiche with Bacon is a delicious recipe to serve for a brunch or a light evening meal. Eggs. Bacon. Onions and Green Peppers. Spinach. Herbs and Swiss Cheese. All whipped up together and formed inside a yummy baked shell.
Breakfast Quiche – I love this simple recipe, which happens to be a variation of Quiche Lorraine. It’s elegant and pretty enough for special entertaining, such as a Mother’s Day Brunch, or for Christmas, or Easter. Yet it’s easy enough to make when you want a light dinner in the spring or summer.
This Ham and Asparagus Quiche is perfect for a weekend brunch or a simple evening meal in the spring or summer. Pair it with a fresh green salad and breadsticks or with fresh fruit and muffins or scones.
Traditional French Main Dishes
Now let’s look at a few traditional French entrees for chicken, beef, and venison. Sorry, although the French are well known for their fish dishes, here in Kansas, fish is caught in a pond or bought frozen. Not my specialty, although I do have a few recipes. See my Fish and Seafood Recipes Here.
One fish recipe that might be considered somewhat French is Smoked Salmon Mousse Sandwiches, which would be called a Paté in French. Smoked salmon, capers, onion and dill all whipped up in cream cheese and sour cream. Top with English cucumbers and serve on pumpernickel or rye. This would be more aptly served as an appetizer.
Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu is an easy, yet elegant recipe for a special dinner. Tender and lightly seasoned chicken breasts rolled up in ham and oozing Swiss cheese baked in a golden brown crust. It’s so good.
If you only try one recipe on this blog post, I encourage you to try this one. My take on Julia Child’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon – French Beef Stew. It’s so delicious. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and instructions. It’s worth the effort and is the perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon!
Simply put, Coq au Vin means Rooster (or Chicken) in Wine, which is exactly what you do with it. Cook or bake the chicken in wine, along with bacon, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and herbs until it’s tender, then serve with a mound of mashed potatoes along with the sauce. Ooh la la. It’s so good.
Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce may have it’s origins in England, but you could also order it in France by the name Filet de Chevreuil Wellington. Start with a pan-seared elk (venison) tenderloin fillet, brushed with Dijon mustard, cloaked in mushroom Duxelles and prosciutto, and then wrapped in a homemade sourdough puff pastry that has been baked to golden perfection. Finish off by topping it with a generous spoonful of silky Madeira sauce that has simmered in a demi-glace sauce of vegetables and herbs.
And last but not least, Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon. It’s one of the best beef entrees that I’ve had the joy of eating. Tender, juicy beef, seared in a cast iron skillet, wrapped in delicious bacon and full of fabulous flavor. Yes, it’s small compared to it’s counterpart the New York Strip, but wow, does it pack a punch! If you ordered this in France, however, you would receive a juicy pork tenderloin. Instead, order it by saying Filet de Boeuf.
Delectable French Desserts
End your French dinner with a luscious dessert. Some of these items are perfect for a tea party, but they work as small, bite-size desserts, too. Most of these are pretty easy to put together, while a few others have more details. Never you mind. As Julia Child would say, be fearless!
Easy French-Style Desserts
Easy Lemon Tarts are sure to bring a smile to those who eat one! Tender pastries filled with luscious lemon pudding or curd and topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Perfect for a brunch or afternoon tea party, or simply as a finger food dessert.
Elderberry Wine-Poached Pears with Chantilly Cream is an excellent choice when you want a simple, yet elegant dessert worthy of Christmas, an anniversary, or a celebratory birthday.
Whether a dessert or simply a luxurious drink to enjoy, please give French Chocolat Chaud a try. If you enjoy chocolate, you will love this French hot chocolate. Intense, rich, and quite heavenly.
Glazed Lemon Madeleines are simply delightful. Small bite-sized sponge cakes topped with a zesty lemon glaze. They’re adorable. Sweet. And delicious.
Creme Brulee with Espresso is an amazing French dessert to serve your most honored guests. Creamy vanilla custard with the tiniest hint of coffee and a caramelized brittle topping that you must break through with a spoon. Simply divine!
More Complicated Desserts Worth Trying
The following desserts may not necessarily be difficult to make, although they have several steps to them, which makes them more complicated. Still, they are so worth trying. Delicious, really, and you will feel like such an accomplished baker when you are done!
This Chocolate Fudge Truffle Cheesecake is a chocolate-lover’s dream dessert. It reminds me of a wonderful chocolate truffle candy. So yummy!
These Belgian Chocolate Raspberry Truffles are quite yummy! Perfect for a tea party, wine tasting, or even to give as a gift.
While this dessert is special for Valentine’s Day, it can be served anytime. Valentine Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries – Formed with Belgian dark chocolate, the heart mold is a chocolate-lover’s dream.
Sourdough Puff Pastry is a great way to use your sourdough discard, and puff pastry can be used in so many ways. For tarts, toppings for pot pies, to make appetizers, or even the covering for Beef Wellington.
So, now you’ve seen my Favorite French-Style Recipes. I do hope you will give at least one of these recipes a try in your home kitchen.
While you’re at it, be sure to browse one of Julia Child’s cookbooks or watch some of her cooking shows. You can even buy her DVD Collections Here.
Some Advice from Julia Child
To end this post, I’d like to share a few of Julia’s most beloved quotes. If you’d like to read more of her work, I encourage you to read the cookbooks that started her career – Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volumes I and II). Another great book is Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking.
“Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!”
“Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.”
“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
“As you get older, you shouldn’t waste time drinking bad wine.”
“With enough butter, anything is good.”
“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun!”