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Essential French Recipes: 10 Classics to Master

First Posted: 11/02/2011 12:23 pm   Updated: 08/31/2012 10:48 am


When you think of "French cooking," certain words come to mind, like rich, fancy and difficult. But French food can actually be the opposite of all these -- light, simple and easy. The cuisine isn't as complicated as it's made it out to be. For sure it's delicious and unforgettable, but it's never out of anyone's reach. You don't have to be a four-star French chef to attempt any of these recipes.

Our collection of essential French dishes shows you that with just 10 recipes in your back pocket, you are on your way to cooking French food effortlessly at home. Look for the classics like salade Nicoise, beef bourgignon, chicken Provencal and steak bearnaise. Add some French flair to your kitchen with any of these dishes.

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  • French Onion Soup

    This version of the classic French onion soup is easy to make when you use store-bought beef broth. Top each bowl of soup with a slice of baguette and cheese. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/french-onion-soup_n_1051726.html">French Onion Soup</a></strong>

  • Light Salade Aux Lardons

    This take on salade Lyonnaise is lighter and leaner because it uses Canadian bacon. Top each plate with a poached egg. Serve this elegant salad as an appetizer or lunch. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/light-salade-aux-lardons_n_1049906.html" target="_hplink">Light Salade aux Lardons</a></strong>

  • Crispy Chicken Leg Confit With Couscous And Olives

    Confit is a method of cooking duck legs in duck fat. This recipe instead cooks chicken legs in olive oil to achieve similar meltingly tender results. Serve with couscous for a touch of Moroccan influence. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/crispy-chicken-leg-confit_n_1058359.html" target="_hplink">Crispy Chicken Leg Confit with Couscous and Olives</a></strong>

  • Ham And Potato Gratin

    A gratin is a hearty side dish of potatoes layered in a casserole and baked. Here ham tops the gratin, turning a typical side dish into a magnificent main. Enjoy it for brunch, lunch or dinner. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/ham-and-potato-gratin_n_1057588.html" target="_hplink">Ham and Potato Gratin</a></strong>

  • Steak Béarnaise With Sweet Potato Straws

    Béarnaise sauce is prepared a lot like mayonnaise. If you know how to use a whisk, you're all set. Serve it as a condiment for seared steak and sweet potato fries for a take on the French bistro classic, steak frites. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/steak-barnaise-with-swee_n_1057503.html" target="_hplink">Steak Bearnaise with Sweet Potato Straws</a></strong>

  • Chicken Provençal

    Chicken stew is a recipe that everyone should know how to make. It's inexpensive, comforting and can feed a hungry hoard of people. This Provencal version uses pantry staples like canned tomatoes and cured olives. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/chicken-provencal_n_1057131.html" target="_hplink">Chicken Provençal</a></strong>

  • Bouillabaisse With Spicy Rouille

    Traditionally this Provencal stew was made by fishermen who used the freshest seafood caught that day. This at-home version features tilapia, scallops and squid. Serve it with rouille, a garlic and red pepper sauce. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/bouillabaisse-with-spicy-_n_1049842.html" target="_hplink">Bouillabaisse with Spicy Rouille</a></strong>

  • Mushroom And Leek Galette

    A galette is a rustic, free-formed tart that can be made either savory or sweet. This version is filled with sauteed mushrooms and leeks. Serve it with a side salad for lunch or dinner. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/mushroom--leek-galette_n_1049112.html" target="_hplink">Mushroom and Leek Galette</a></strong>

  • Nouveau Niçoise

    Salade Nicoise is easy to make and includes a flavorful combination of fresh vegetables along with hard-boiled eggs and tuna. It's filling and refreshing for a picnic lunch. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/nouveau-nicoise_n_1049181.html" target="_hplink">Nouveau Niçoise</a></strong>

  • Beef Bourguignon

    Julia Child was famous for her boeuf bourgignon. You can be too with this simplified recipe. Serve the stew over pasta or boiled potatoes. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/beef-bourguignonne_n_1050482.html" target="_hplink">Beef Bourguignon</a></strong>

  • How To Make Boeuf Bourguignon

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Filed by Joseph Erdos  |