FRENCH FOOD CAN BE DOWN TO EARTH

If you’d like a magnificent, hearty alternative to what many people consider “fancy French food,” consider some of the earthier dishes France has to offer. This is peasant food – the meals French housewives make when they look around their kitchens, find the best ingredients and use them in creative ways. You’ll find no haute cuisine here, just very tasty, stick-to-your-ribs recipes that will both tickle the taste buds and fulfill the most demanding appetites this side of the Atlantic.

….FULL ARTICLE

TURN TO SUNNY SPAIN FOR SOMETHING TRULY DIFFERENT

Real Spanish food is outstanding in its ability to take commonplace ingredients and combine them in a way that makes them as exotic as they are flavorful.

The following recipes include a classic paella, a refreshing sangria and a chicken and rice dish, all of which incorporate classic Spanish style.

….FULL ARTICLE

A TASTE OF IRELAND

Whether you want to plan something delightful for your next St. Patrick’s Day celebration or just want to enjoy a different kind of cuisine, you can’t go wrong with a taste of Ireland.

While many so-called gourmets will turn up their noses at any cuisine that originates in the British Isles, the fact is no one outdoes the British when it comes to preparing a good stew.

….FULL ARTICLE

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In a soup kettle, melt the butter or margarine and combine with the oil. Add the onions and seasoned salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes or until the onions are cooked down and become a golden brown color. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes.


If you want to dress up your creation even further, take about six one-inch thick slices of French bread, brush each side with a little olive oil and sprinkle on a little garlic salt. Place them on a baking sheet in a 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Top with grated Swiss cheese and return to the oven briefly, until the cheese is melted. Place a slice of the bread in individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over it when serving.


PORK CHOPS PROVENCAL


•  6-8 3/4-inch-thick pork chops

•  1/4 cup olive oil

•  1 large onion, coarsely chopped

•  1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

•  3 stalks celery, chopped

•  4 cloves finely chopped garlic

•  1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

•  1 16-oz. can tomato puree

•  1 cup dry vermouth

•  1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, or 2 T dried

•  1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, or 2 T dried

•  1 tsp. Salt

•  1/2 tsp. black pepper


In a large frying pan, brown the chops in the olive oil, then put them in a large casserole. Sauté the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and mushrooms in the remaining oil for about five minutes or until the onion is limp and tender. Stir in the tomato puree, wine, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for about five minutes, then pour over the pork chops in the casserole. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for about an hour or until the chops are done. Serve with rice and a cold bottle of rosé.


BOEUF BOURGUIGNON


•  3 lbs. lean beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

•  Flour

•  Salt and pepper

•  1/2 cup butter

•  1/2 cup cooking oil

•  8 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces

•  2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

•  5 carrots, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces

•  2 large onions, finely chopped

•  1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

•  2 cups burgundy wine

•  1 tsp. dried oregano

•  2 bay leaves

•  Dash paprika

•  Dash fresh celery seed

•  1 T butter

•  1/2 lb. frozen pearl onions

•  18 small whole mushrooms


Coat the beef in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and brown in a stew or soup kettle on all sides in the melted butter and oil. In a large fry pan, cook the bacon until crisp. To the bacon, add the garlic, carrots, onion and parsley and sauté until the onion is golden brown. Drain off  the grease and add to the beef. Add the two cups of burgundy, using more, if necessary, to cover the meat, then add the oregano, bay leaves, paprika and celery seed and stir well. Cover and simmer atop the stove for two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Melt butter in a fry pan and add the pearl onions, sautéing until golden, then add the onions to the stew. In the liquid remaining in the fry pan, add the mushrooms and cook until limp. Add mushrooms to the stew and continue to simmer for about 1/2 hour more, or until the onions are tender. Serve over rice.

If you’d like a magnificent, hearty alternative to what many people consider “fancy French food,” consider some of the earthier dishes France has to offer.


This is peasant food – the meals French housewives make when they look around their kitchens, find the best ingredients and use them in creative ways.


You’ll find no haute cuisine here, just very tasty, stick-to-your-ribs recipes that will both tickle the taste buds and fulfill the most demanding appetites this side of the Atlantic.


The fun thing about these dishes is that you get to use the same wonderfully fresh ingredients as French home cooks, but you don’t have to go through all the fuss that traditional haute cuisine demands.


Below you’ll find a magnificent French onion soup, whose secret is a blend of both beef and chicken stock.


The pork chops will bring to your palate the flavor of summer and fresh, ripe tomatoes along with the magnificence of fresh herbs.


The boeuf Bourguignon may be a bit more complicated to prepare,

FRENCH FOOD CAN BE DOWN TO EARTH

but the result is well worth the effort.


Part of the beauty of simple French cooking is that you not only can improvise, but are encouraged to do so. You can throw in a handful of basil in place of parsley or put in four instead of two cloves of garlic. Let your culinary imagination run amok. Bon appetite!



FRENCH ONION SOUP


•  4 T butter or margarine

•  2 T olive oil

•  3 lbs. thin-sliced onions (they cook way down)

•  1 tsp. seasoned salt

•  4 T flour

•  1 quart beef stock

•  1 quart chicken stock