Welcome to the second installment of the monthly France Blogging Roundtable, a project organized by Christine Cantera of WhyGo France. The group includes Christine and four others of us who blog about France: Jennifer of Chez Lou Lou, Jamie of Life's a Feast, EuroCheapo, and me. Each month we'll share our unique perspectives on a predetermined topic about France. So pull up a chair to our Roundtable, have a croissant or an eclair, and join in on the conversation. We'd love to hear your take on each month's topic and your comments. This month's topic: French Comfort Food
When I think of comfort food in general; stews, soups, pork products, potatoes, creamy, cheesey, & buttery dishes immediately come to mind. Oh ya, and chocolate! France's cold-weather cuisine and its many regional dishes definitely include many of those ingredients. I would say that one of the top reasons to travel through France during the colder months is to taste some of these heartier seasonal and regional dishes that aren't always available and would be too heavy in the summer months.
I've been able to sample much of what France has to offer in the way of comfort. Here are some of my favorite French comfort foods. Some are obvious ones of classic French cuisine, and others you might not have heard of before. Most are savory, but you know I'm a dessert kinda girl, and no French comfort food post would be complete without some of my favorite French pastries:
Jarret de Porc aux Lentilles
This is a typical autumn/winter dish in Provence and other parts of the southern part of France. A pork shank is slow cooked, then placed on a bed of lentils (in the top photo), and the cooking is finished in a terra cotta dish. I recently had this dish with Tuula during our food lover's day in Aix-en-Provence.
Paupiette de Veau
One of my favorite dishes in France, these are simply veal rolls, stuffed and braised in wine. I've made and had many with a pork sausage stuffing, but I also enjoyed a lighter version, one with breadcrumbs and parsley, at L'Epicuriste in Paris.
Confit de Canard
Confit de Canard (photo courtesy: Flickr PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE)
The French do duck best. I make it a point to enjoy as many duck dishes as possible when I'm in France, but the one I enjoy the most is confit de canard. Duck legs are slowly cooked in their own fat, confit. When ready to serve, they are fried up so that the skin is golden and crispy and the meat is ever so tender. Definitely not to be missed.
This hearty dish comes from Toulouse and the Gascony region in southwest France and is a bit complicated to make, but worth the effort. If you're able to get someone to make it for you, all the better. Named after the earthenware dish in which it's cooked, the cassoule, white beans, Toulouse sausage and duck legs confit are slowly cooked together then topped with a crispy crust.
Navarin d'Agneau (photo courtesy Flickr: Kent Wang)
The French name sounds much fancier than its English version - lamb stew. Tougher cuts of lamb stew together with root vegetables and wine. It's also an easy dish to recreate at home.
Layers upon layers of potatoes, cream and cheese, finished with a crunchy topping. This might be the epitome of comfort cuisine in France, and elsewhere.
Boeuf Bourguignon (photo courtesy Flickr: mulberrymint)
Classic French cuisine, this famous beef stew is made with Burgundy wine with pearl onions and carrots as its tradtional accoutrement. It was made even more popular in the U.S. by Julia Child.
Although they hail from Austria (hence the name), these flaky, buttery breakfast pastries are symbols of France and French pastries, especially the croissant. All mornings should start out with a few flakes of pastry remains on your lap. My favorites are pains aux chocolat and chaussons aux pommes. What are yours?
Legend has it that the Tatin sisters messed up in making a tradtional apple tart, and this caramelized "upside-down" apple tart was the result. Apples, caramel, flaky pastry; this warms my insides just talking about it.
Cooked custard with a crunchy sugar crust?! Enough said.
Yes, this dessert is a bright yellow ball, making you think of sun and summer. Although you can get a tart citron year-round in France, (and I do) lemons are actually a winter fruit. One of the reasons I look forward to winter is because I have a lemon tree that supplies me with lemons for this dessert and many more.
I'm often asked which French pastry is my favorite. I always qualify the question by asking "to make or to eat?" Although I love putting together different mousses, ganaches, creams & cakes to make many French desserts, the eclair is my favorite to eat. My all-time favorite flavor, a chocolate eclair with choclate pastry cream makes me think of both Paris & my mom. I do have to say that the Pur Caramel Eclair from Cafe Pouchkine is a close second.
Check out what the others have to say about comfort food in France:
- French Comfort Food from WhyGo France
- Paris Food Stuffs: Best Places for Cheap and Yummy Eats from EuroCheapo
- Galette Des Rois - King's Cake from Life's a Feast
December's Roundtable Topic - Favorite French Art: Art and Chateau Vaux le Vicomte
What is your favorite French Comfort Food?