If you've never been to a French restaurant, it might be intimidating. The names of the meals might be unfamiliar. French cuisine is not as popular as Italian, Mexican, or Chinese in North America. The food doesn't cater to fast food take out or chain restaurants. However, the food is not only for rich, elite diners. Some of the best French meals were created by country folk and are still popular staples in the countryside of France and in bistros and cafes all over.
Here are three delicious meals to try out when you find a local French restaurant.
Soufflé: Savory or Sweet
Soufflés are egg-based dishes that can be made for dessert or as a savory entrée. The process is similar for both. The eggs are separated and the yolks are mixed with either a cheese (savory) base or chocolate (sweet) base. This base will include flour, and in the case of savory bases, spices such as salt and nutmeg. This custard base is then set aside while the egg whites are whipped up until they form soft peaks. The custard base is then folded gently into the egg whites and put into ramekins. The soufflés are then placed into a bain-marie (a water bath) and baked in an oven. The egg whites provide the rise. There is no baking powder or yeast.
The soufflé has a rich, luxurious flavor, but it is very light and airy. It's a very unique combination.
This vegetable stew is one of Frances most famous dishes. The stew is made with eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions and garlic. The stew has an amazing taste; each component is distinct and maintains its own flavor. This is accomplished by sautéing each vegetable by itself in olive oil and then combining them to slow cook.
This is a popular lunch and dinner meal. It is served with crusty bread or sometimes over a bed of rice.
This is another stew, but this one is made with beans and a variety of meats. Typically a cassoulet will include pork, duck, sausages and lamb. Some regions in France also prepare it with rabbit. White beans are cooked with duck confit and spices such as rosemary, garlic, cloves, salt and white pepper. After the beans have cooked through, the meats are added to the pot and everything is slow cooked until the meats are thoroughly cooked. The stew will be served with crusty bread.