Make Your Own French Meals at Home

The French take their food seriously. In a land of pistachio macarons, shots of tomato consommé, decadent bœuf bourguignon, hundreds of different kinds of cheese and mandated 35-hour work weeks, the French seem to spend about as much time and energy eating and drinking as they do working. This delicious environment gives birth to some of the most celebrated and sought after French dishes, many of which you absolutely must travel to France to taste.

However, you can bring some France to your home, with these three simple and truly French recipes.

French Onion Soup (Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée)

For such a simple dish, French onion soup should be easy to make. And yet, so many soups taste like a cup of burnt-onion tea with melted cheese trying its best to cover up the flaws.

We have a recipe that develops great flavor with a long, slow caramelisation of the onions, then punches it up with cider vinegar, fresh chives, and a surprise ingredient: fish sauce.

Because this is real French food.


6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, plus more for toasts 3 pounds (1.4kg) yellow or mixed onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick (see note) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup (120ml), dry sherry (such as Amontillado), 2 quarts (1.8L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon (5ml), Asian fish sauce (optional), 1 teaspoon (5ml) cider vinegar, 8 bowl-size slices rustic bread, toasted until crisp, 1 medium clove garlic, 1 pound (450g) Gruyère cheese, and rated Freshly minced chives.

How to make it?

  1. You can cook this dish in a large stainless steel saucepan, or in 2 large stainless steel or cast iron skillets. First, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming, and then add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened for about 8 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are very sweet and a rich golden-brown color. If browned onion juices on bottom of pot threaten to burn, add 1 tablespoon (15ml) of water, scrape up browned bits, and continue cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While the onions are getting darker, add sherry and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until alcohol smell is mostly gone (about 3 minutes). Finally, add stock, thyme, and bay leaf; raise heat to medium-high; and bring to a simmer. Later, lower heat and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  3. Here it comes: add fish sauce, if using, and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
  4. Finally, preheat broiler and adjust oven rack to top position. Spoon a small amount of broth into the bottoms of 4 ovenproof serving bowls, then top with half the toasts. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of toasts, then spoon more soup and onions on top, nearly filling your soup bowls. Make sure you set remaining 4 toasts in bowls, pushing to nearly submerging them. Top with remaining grated cheese and set bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cheese is melted and browned in spots. Garnish with chives and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Cassoulet, from the South of France

Although there are innumerable versions of cassoulet, most are based on a stew of white beans and various forms of pork or/and duck. Layers of duck, two kinds of sausage, a hearty ragout, and beans make this the comfort meal to end all comfort meals.

The dish gets its name from the pot it’s traditionally baked in, which is often shaped like a wide inverted cone to insure the greatest amount of luscious crust.

And like many dishes that come under the modish heading of peasant food, it is hearty stuff, designed to fuel hours of hard physical toil.


1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lb pork belly cut into half inch pieces, 2 lbs chicken thighs bone-in, black pepper, 1 lb turkey sausage, 1 large onion diced, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1 tsp ground clove, 2 stalks of celery chopped into 1 inch pieces, 3 carrots peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces, 4-15 oz cans white cannellini beans drained, 32 oz chicken stock, 1 bunch thyme, 12 pieces, tied 2 bay leaves, 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped.

How to make it?

  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Season chicken’s skin sides with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil and brown the pork belly pieces. When golden brown and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and sear until a golden brown for several minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. Brown the sausages on both sides in the same skillet. Remove and set aside.
  6. Add the onion to the skillet and sauté for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and ground clove and cook another minute. Add the celery and carrots and cook for 3 minutes, scraping up the bottom of the pan for any browned bits.
  7. Spread the sautéed vegetables to a large roasting pan, Dutch oven or casserole dish. Add the beans and chicken stock. Next add the cooked meats and any pan juices, pressing them into the beans and vegetables. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves.
  8. Cook, uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  9. Remove thyme bundle and bay leaves. Season to taste. Place a chicken piece, a sausage and scoop of beans with vegetables on each plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty French bread.

Voilà! Your traditionally French Cassoulet is ready to welcome your family and friends. Or you can enjoy it by yourself.

Classic Ratatouille Experience

In France, Ratatouille is a culinary specialty of Nice, also found throughout Provence. It exists in many countries under different names. It is a stew of various vegetables and a main character of the well-loved and multiple awards winner carton Ratatouille. This is a story about Remy, a highly intelligent and idealistic young rat with unusually acute senses of taste and smell who dreams of becoming a chef like his idol, the late Auguste Gusteau, a famous French chef in Paris. In the film, Remy prepares a stew of various vegetables for the well-known and feared food critique, who is taken back to his childhood with one bite of this simple and delicious French dish.

There is a grain of truth to that. Not the rat cooking an amazing dish. But the childhood memories of careless and simple life. You see Ratatouille originated in the area around present day Nice. It was originally a meal made by poor farmer’s (in essence it started out life as a peasant dish), and was prepared in the summer with fresh summer vegetables.

There is no one way of cooking this dish. We’ve sourced the recipe we love the most.


1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, 1½ teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste, ½ cup olive oil, divided 1 large zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds, 2 pints Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, divided, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 summer savory sprigs (optional), 1 bay leaf, 2 medium yellow onions, cut into ½-inch dice, 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.

How to make it?

  1. Toss the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt and allow draining in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
  2. In a large oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. If the eggplant absorbs all the oil and begins to stick to the bottom, add more oil as needed. Remove the eggplant and set aside in a medium bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot and cook the zucchini until golden but not completely tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the eggplant. Do not wash out the pot.
  3. Using your hands crush half of the tomatoes and season them with ½ teaspoon of the salt and set aside.
  4. Using kitchen twine, tie the thyme, savory and bay leaf sprigs together. In the same pot, heat the remaining ¼ cup of the oil. Add the onions and herb bundle, and cook until soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and red pepper are very soft, 14 to 16 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and the flavors have melded together, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved eggplant and zucchini and the remaining tomatoes, and stir 2 to 3 times to combine. Season with salt, cover and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Cook until all the vegetables have softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, adjust the seasoning as needed and discard the herb bundle. Top with the basil and parsley, and serve.

Treat your tastebuds!

If you want help picking your best French experience, just give our team a call on 1800 242 353.