Week 6 – France II

Week 6 of Classical European cuisine brings us our second week of French cuisine. The menu this week includes Soupe a l Oignon (French Onion Soup), Navarin d’Agneau (Lamb Stew), Farcis de Blettes (Stuffed Swiss Chard), Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumbers, and Crepe Suzette.

A simple dish, French Onion soup was delicious. Caramelized onions in a beef broth with Gruyee cheese melted on top is very easy to make. The hardest part is cooking the onions and that is only because it takes 15-20 minutes. A deglaze with white wine gives a nice tangy flavor to the soup. I enjoyed this dish and look forward to not only making it but twisting up the recipe a bit.

The next dish was a lamb stew. Yet another braising dish that was simple to make. A few minutes of prep and a couple of hours of braising and its done. I’m not a huge fan of lamb so when I tasted it I wished it was made with beef but overall it was very good. Turnips were a nice addition to the dish. It was flavorful due to the herbs and amount of vegetables, basically a standard braise.

Stuffed Swiss Chard is an interesting side dish. It reminds me of the stuffed cabbage that my mother makes. The chard is a slightly bitter leaf that is blanched and stuffed with rice. The ‘blanc’ technique is used to disperse flour through a strainer with water and used to boil the chard stalks.

For a salad course I made a watercress salad with endive and cucumbers. These are traditional french ingredients tossed in a simple vinaigrette. Nothing to complicated here. The salad was as good as it was simple. An easy dijon mustard vinaigrette was pleasing and complimented the ingredients well.

Finally, I made crepe suzettes. I’ve always wanted to know what it was and how it tasted. The answers are crepes in an orange glaze and delicious. First made a simple crepe batter and gently made my crepes in a non-stick pan. Then you start a simple caramel in a pan, add butter, flambe with your favorite orange liquour (grand marnier) and add the crepes to the pan. I folded the crepes into triagles and plates. Orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice brightens it up nicely. Simply delicious.

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Published in: on February 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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