The French are very well-known for their sophisticated cooking methods. The agriculturally fertile soil in France provides abundant fruits, vegetables, grains and meat throughout the year. The French are known to love to dine in restaurants, making the country a hub of hotels, bars, bistros, restaurants and street side cafes. Some of the national dishes of France include crepes, pot-au-feu, macarons, croissants, and coq au vin. However, the widely accepted dish across France is the pot-au-feu.
Pot-au-feu is a widely accepted and celebrated type of food in France. The origin of the beef stew dish can be traced to King Henry IV of France who ruled between 1553 and 1610. He was quoted as saying that all peasants should afford chicken in their pot at least once a week on Sundays. A habit started forming of cooking food with meat in it, which later developed into pot-au-feu as we know it today.
Main Ingredients and Preparation Method
Pot-au-feu is made from cuts of meat which are cooked for a prolonged period of time hence the term “pot on fire.” Other ingredients include vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, white cabbages, and onions, cartilaginous meat from oxtail or bone marrow and some spices mainly black pepper, bouquet garni, and cloves. The value of cartilaginous meat is to make fine broth and give it a jelly appearance because of its gelatin. Onions and cloves in the dish give the broth a smoked taste and brown color. Once ready, nutmeg is added to the broth before being served. If the pot-au-feu was prepared using marrowbone, the cooked marrow is spread on bread. The vegetables and meat are served with Dijon mustard, gherkins or horseradish sauce. The dish is a perfect meal in winter due to its unmistakable aroma as it simmers in the pot all day long.
Other Foods Considered to be National Dishes
Crepe, macarons, croissants, and coq au vin are also classified as national dishes of France. A crepe is a thin pancake made from wheat flour, eggs, and milk. Crepes is a traditional cake served during the Candlemas on February 2 each year in commemoration of when baby Jesus was presented to the church. There are two types of crepe, namely the sweet crepes and savory crepes. The sweet crepes are made from wheat flour and taken with fillings such as Nutella spread, fruit spreads, or whipped cream. Ingredients of savory crepes are non-wheat flours which are gluten-free hence can be taken by people allergic to gluten. Fillings such as cheese, eggs or mushrooms are added at the center before partially folding the edges.
French macarons are confectioneries made of granulated sugar, egg white, almond powder, food coloring, and icing sugar. Popular macarons outlets include the Ladurée pastry shops which have been making the product for the last 150 years.
The croissant is a crescent-shaped pastry prepared with dough that is layered with yeast or butter then rolled and folded numerous times before being rolled into a sheet by lamination technique. The end product has layers in succession which after being baked to brown color forms continental breakfast for Frenchmen.
Coq au vin, also considered a national dish, is made from chicken parts braised in mushrooms, lardons, or the available wine variety in that region. Preparation method involves seasoning the chicken in fat then gradually simmering in wine to make it tender. Currently, modern soft chicken is used unlike in the earlier days when roosters or “coq” were the main ingredients. The tough birds have strong connective tissues which cooked well by braising technique.