"classic" French cuisine?

Joined Jul 31, 2000
Does it still exist? I believe it does.

After chatting with a friend recently about this topic, and seeing the reply from petals on the thread about cooking a duck, it made me think it may be interesting to discuss ones favorite French recipes. The duck recipe from Chez Michel rings of classic technique, especially thickening the sauce with the liver. (the blood thickens).

A few come to mind because of the season. I love everything about Choucroute Garni, from the cabbage to the Strasbourg sausage to the smoked pork.Of course a nice dry Alsatian Riesling goes perfect.

Cassoulette, which was recently discussed is another favorite of mine from Gascony. It's the best of all worlds, pork, lamb, sausage, duck confit ( I know it depends on what neighborhood your from) to what you use, but that is what I use. Warm, rich, fragrant,& savory. A Fitou is my wine of choice.

I enjoy a perfectly simple onion tarte from Provence, a buttery/tender pate brisse, a perfect custard and lots of soft caramelized onions. With a salad of mesclun (from Provence) and a glass or two of Tavel it's a satisfying lunch or light supper.

I have many more I love, what about you?


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I picked up my first French cookbook recently, I Know How to Cook.

I've been impressed with the other books in this line from Phaidon press. I've never been impressed with much of what I've encountered of French cooking and there's plenty in this book I've not liked too. But there's been enough that I have liked to pursue deeper than I have in the past.

To me, much of French cuisine is overwrought or underwrought with little that meets my personal balance. If I had to categorize,I would say that the casual bistro style comes closest for me but I couldn't say if that's classic French cuisine.

I look forward to more insight from better cooks than I am.

Joined May 26, 2001
Well, you already hit my three absolute favorites! :peace: But then there's

Boeuf bourguignonne

Coq au vin (rouge or blanc)

Sole meunière


Mousse au chocolat

and lots more. Simple home cooking. That's probably why bistro-type restaurants are always opening -- the food is just plain GOOD. (Well, of course it has to be done prioperly, but these are dishes that don't need a chef, just a careful cook.)

ETA, for Phil: I forget where I read something about a French person (don't remember if it was a chef or someone else) saying how Americans complain that French food is all sauces obscuring the food, but then we pour ketchup over everything. Or mayonnaise, or mustard. :lol:
Joined Jul 31, 2000

Their is nothing like a great French Bistro, this is where you will find many of the classics that don't fit into the modern fold.Chef Philip Jeanty prepares the most satisfying oxtail terrine, with a touch of Pommery mustard, a cornichon or two and perfect croustades from a baguette. Suzanne, I love sole meunière as well as Homard in the Brittany style. Silky and spicy.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Was this not the first dish eaten by Julia Child on her first day in France? The meal was a La Couronne in Rouen. :lips:

I don't know if rilletes du porc or du canard qualify. Either one with a baguette and a glass of red wine and I'm good to go!

I once made Tripes a la mode de Caen and liked it a lot. I used honeycomb tripe, which is milder in flavor. Wonderful texture!
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Sometimes I miss the simple things from my childhood.

Jambon beurre.
Saucisson beurre.
Paté cornichons.

Good products were what made those simple ubiquitous sandwiches a great lunch. No fussy recipes there.

One of my favorite memory was when a friend and I walked into a bar, I ordered a saucisson-beurre, and being the complicated customer he was, he started asking dozens of questions about the sandwiches, finally asking the waiter if he could have a sandwich with half paté, half cheese. The waiter made a funny face but said ok they could do it. He brought back a sandwich that was entirely spread with paté, with slices of cheese on top of the paté. It was horrible! :smiles:

Oh but I also miss...
Quenelles in tomato-béchamel
Moules frites
Steak frites
Tarte aux poireaux
Fondue savoyarde
Fondue bourguignonne
Fondue bressane
Gratin dauphinois
Pot au feu
Poulet cocotte
Choucroute garnie
Boudin noir & boudin blanc
Saucisson brioché
Pissenlits sauvages
Boeuf bourguignon
Hachis parmentier
Far breton
Soupe aux orties sauvages
Viennoise au chocolat
Ficelle (thinner than a baguette)
Flute (larger than a baguette)
Bread, bread, bread. . .
Cheeses (Munster, Ossau Iraty, Crottin de Chavignol, Saint Marcellin, Abondance, Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie, Brocciu, .....)
Red wines . . .
Croissants, pains au chocolat, chaussons aux pommes, pains au raisins (classic breakfast fare you can find in any boulangerie)
Marrons glacés!!

Etc etc....!

I also miss the fraises des bois! And apple cider (the real alcoholic beverage, not carbonated apple juice). Groseilles. Groseilles a maquereau. Peches de vigne. Cerises. Meurises. Noisettes rouges. Griottes. Cassis. Wild mache. Wild pissenlits. And.....

... don't get me started! :lol:
Joined Jul 31, 2000
French Fries,

You have a lot of experience with French cuisine. I see your a culinary student. Did you grow up in France?

Tell me about your Bresse poulet fondue, and far breton. You have enjoyed many dishes as a student. You even miss quenelles........
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I was born and grew up in France, yes! I've cooked all my life. I recently decided to go back to (culinary) school (night classes, once a week) to get some solid foundations.

Fondue Bressane:
Cut chicken breasts in bite size bits. Guests then dip in cream (not beaten eggs as many people think), then in bread crumb, and fry in oil pot.

Obviously, the recipe is better with Poulet de Bresse and with "real" cream (as a wee boy I would go to the farm next door, have them fill our jugs with fresh milk (sometimes I had to go in the stable and wait as I watched the old woman milk the cows) and once home we'd just skim the cream from the surface).

Far Breton
A unique prune cake - that one I've never made so I couldn't give you the recipe other than copying it from one of my books (let me know if interested). The taste and mouthfeel (real thick) is really unique, I can't think of anything close to it.

I guess this word has several meanings. To me, in my childhood, quenelles were quite large, and "nature" (no fish, no poultry, only milk+butter+flour: it's surprising that you would use the same ingredients for the quenelle as for the sauce that accompanies them, but it works wonderfully). I couldn't find any online pic that looks anything close to my memory. I've tried to make my own once, but was only partially successful: the quenelles kinda fell apart once cooked, and almost dissolved into the tomato-béchamel. I will have to try again!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dans quelle région de la France avez-vous grandi ?

Comment est votre aller l'instruction

Much success Pommes frites

Another dish I enjoy is brandade du Morue from Pays-Basque.

Mezz, Rillette whether Lapin or Canard with a pinot noir is simple a peaceful way to enjoy some meat, fat and grape.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
the prune tart looks like a clafutti

pains au raisin....man I miss them, almost enough to make a batch.
white raisins soaked in rum...

what is wild pissenlits?
dandilion greens?

a couple of my dearest friends have comfortable French restaurants here....with another from Lyon openning a southern French place this summer.
One's got cassolet on the menu now....the other has a frangipane apple tart who's glaze had just the nicest tartness to it.

I miss coffee eclairs.

oops it's not miss it's love.....ok (spelling will suck, so sorry)
beef bourgonon
chicken in cream sauce with mushrooms and pearl onions
pissonlet....dandilion greens, poached eggs, lardons, shallot viniagrette
boudin...blanc and noir, especially cajun....which is sorta kinda french but far removed.
pate d' tete.....loads of gelee with tender chunks o' pigs head, shallots/parsley....served with red onion and mustard....crutons
country pate
foie, never met one I didn't like
pain au chocolat
cheeses kinda take up a whole thread all by themselves.....
buerre blanc pretty much on any fish or chicken...
beurnaise.....long time since I've had or made a decent one
Lardons....beautiful things!
escargot with loads of fennel butter, well and bread
aioli & frites
salt caramel
girottes....almost through the 3 liter jar on the counter
croquant....my mom used to make burnt almond caramel when I was very young, we had an almond tree in the back lot.

the list goes on and on.....and classic french has not disappeared.
Joined Aug 25, 2009
Where is one to start ?

I agree with the posts above ...classic , I have a list of some things I miss and enjoy.

Cheese : brin d'Amour
Brie de Meaux
Wine, Rose des Riceys
Frontignan Muscatel
Noyau de Poissy ...
Betise de Cambrai..sweet
Berlingots Nantais ...candy
Magret de canard aux Myrtilles
Saucisses de Toulouse, de Morteau
Lotte a l'Imperatrice ..fish dish
Moules au Roquefort
Pompe aux pomme du Perigard
La galette des Rois
Pot au feu (fav)
Fricasse de Poulet
Friand Foie Gras
Baeri Caviar (only get there)
Tarte au Pistou
Soupe au Potiron
Soupe aux Chataignes
Garbure (fav..another bowl please)
assorted dijon...the blackberry dijon cream.....my....
Cannot forget Corsican honey
I will not start a wine list for obvious reasons.....:lol::lol:;)

What a thread......get the defibrillator 4 a few reasons.....
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Far breton and clafoutis are different although similar I guess. I've had both, and they are both delicious! Clafoutis is typically made with cherries or "meurises" or "griottes" (that last one is probably the tastiest one!). Far is made with dried fruits, like prunes or, more rarely, raisins or a mix of both. It's a specialty of Brittany and is also completely browned on top.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Thanks! I grew up in beautiful Grenoble, in the Dauphiné, land of gratin dauphinois. As for my instruction - it starts tomorrow night!!
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Kind of I guess, although I could never find any that look like the smaller ones we had in France. And the taste is nothing like what I had in France. Here's what it looks like, served with hod lardons (think little bits of sautéed bacon).
Joined Feb 1, 2007
French Fries: The dandilion greens you remember are a cultivated crop. The French Dadilion leaves are thinner, longer, and slightly less bitter than wild American dandilion.

Seed is available if you want to grow your own.
Joined Aug 25, 2009
French Fries,

Your list of food is outstanding to say the least....
I wish you only the very best in your new studies....you have passion, you WILL go far.

bonne chance dans tes études!
Joined Aug 25, 2009
A wonderful dish from the South of France , it has become very popular.

Alot wonder what to call Garbure, is it a stew ? A soup ? I say it is a stew because it looks and tastes just like one only with a unique flavor.

The original Garbure has goose wings, but I use chicken wings.
You can find all kinds of different types of ingredients, I usually put the following:
Cabbage, Pearl onions, potatoes, turnip, red pepper (color) , lots of garlic, bouquet garni, ham bone, bacon, dried sausage, white beans, white wine, lots of chicken thighs and wings, and some crusty bread....
Some put cheese.
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