3 Timeless French Recipes From France's Most Admired Chefs

A trio of food stars from around the country share inspired takes on classic home cuisine with chef Daniel Boulud.

french dishes
Katrín Björk

French chefs are among the most sophisticated in the world. But when the weekend arrives and they’re at home with family and friends, they turn to simple, soulful cooking: Timeless recipes are the order of the day. I asked three of my good friends, who also happen to be prominent chefs in different regions of France, to share dishes they make at home.

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Each highlights the distinctive flavors of his region. , who was born in the Alps and moved to Provence, where he runs his Michelin two-star restaurant La Bastide de Capelongue, chose hearty — braised beef cheeks — seasoned with herbs. Twenty years ago, Yves Camdeborde revolutionized the Parisian bistro by serving spectacular food in a casual way. Yves’s approach to cooking — including this salad of salted cod and aged Comté cheese — draws on the influences of the Basque Country. Finally, is a strawberry cake found in most pastry shops, but of Lyon deconstructs the dessert and serves it in a glass. It’s the perfect ending to a meal that captures the best of France.

Beef Cheek Daube à La Provençal by Édouard Loubet of La Bastide de Capelongue, Bonnieux

french dishes
Katriín Björk

“This recipe is the essence of Provençal cooking, with classic ingredients like bay leaves and rosemary — and, of course, red wine. I like to serve it for lunch or dinner with a crisp salad and a pasta gratin. It’s easy to prepare ahead and reheat.”

french dishes
Katrín Björk
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Braised for hours and then left to rest, a beef-and-vegetable stew develops deep flavor.

Serves 6 to 8

3 lbs. beef cheeks, cut into quarters

1 lamb shank

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 onions, coarsely chopped

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs savory or marjoram

1 sprig rosemary

4 green cardamom pods

8 green Sichuan peppercorns

6 juniper berries

4 cups red wine

3 T olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T flour

1 lb. peewee potatoes

In a large bowl, combine the beef, lamb, carrots, onions, herbs and spices; marinate in the red wine for 24 hours. Drain the liquid and reserve. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and sear for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture and sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, then add the reserved marinade and 4 cups of water. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 hours. Remove from heat and set aside for at least 45 minutes. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add potatoes to the stew, reheat, season and serve.

What To Drink

“A classic wine of Provence, [$52] is a field blend with Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes, but also some Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan,” says , head sommelier of Daniel restaurant. “Spicy and rich, with tannins and freshness, it balances the stew’s lamb and beef, the spice of the peppercorns and juniper.”

Salad With Salted Cod, Comté Cheese, And Radishes By Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir, Paris

french dishes
Katriín Björk

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“Cod is a signature dish of the Basque Country. Of course, all cod dishes are traditionally Portuguese, and as inhabitants of Portugal have migrated over the French border, the fish has become a staple of our southwestern cuisine. In this salad, the saltiness of the cod and the tang of the cheese bring a welcome punch. Since cod preserves so well, this can be served all year long.”

french dishes
Katriín Björk

Milk-poached cod brings a hint of salt and sea. The tablecloth and napkin are by , the plate is by , and the fork is from .

Serves 6

10 oz. salted cod, rinsed

2 cups milk

4 hearts of romaine lettuce

20 radishes, thinly sliced

5 chives, cut into 1-inch lengths

3 oz. Comté cheese, shaved

1 T red wine vinegar

1 tsp. mustard

2 T olive oil

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Soak the cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water several times to remove the salt. In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it reaches a low simmer. Add the cod and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then let cool in the milk.

Wash and separate the leaves of romaine, cutting the large pieces into two. Toss with the radishes, chives and shaved Comté.

In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil, and season with salt. Pour over the salad and flake the drained cod over the top. Serve with freshly ground white pepper.

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What To Drink

“Jurançon whites, such as [$15], are blends of Gros Manseng and Camaralet that offer lovely citrus aromas and avors, as well as a mineral salinity that matches the salted cod,” says Vaidya. “A touch of honey plays beautifully off the mustard.”

Strawberry Parfaits by Sébastien Bouillet of Pâtisserie Bouillet, Lyon

french dishes
Katriín Bjoörk

“We’ve always served parfait at our patisserie, but it has evolved over time. It’s light, fresh and sophisticated — the freshness of the strawberries, the sweetness of cream, the softness of the cake and the luxurious taste of almond paste make a perfect combination. I often make it with my children, who love berries, and we eat it as a family.”

french dishes
Katriín Björk

Strawberries, cake and cream combine to make a dessert both delicate and indulgent.

Makes 6 parfaits

3⁄4 cup milk

1⁄2 vanilla bean, scraped

5 T butter, room temperature

1⁄2 cup 3 T sugar

3 T flour

2 egg yolks

2⁄3 cup water

1 T kirsch

1 loaf vanilla pound cake

Half of a 7 oz. package of almond paste

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1 lb. strawberries, trimmed

Make The Crème Mousseline

In a saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla seeds and half of the butter, until the butter is melted. In a bowl, add 3 T sugar, the flour and egg yolks, and whisk in 1⁄4 of the milk mixture, then pour back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a shallow dish and apply plastic wrap directly onto the mixture. Let cool. Transfer to a bowl and blend in the remaining butter. Chill.

Make The Syrup

In a small saucepan, combine the water, 1⁄2 cup sugar and kirsch, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes and chill.

Assemble The Parfaits

Cut the pound cake into one-inch-thick slices and punch out 12 circles using a rocks glass. Roll the almond paste into a thin layer and cut 6 circles with the glass; set aside. Push 1 disk of pound cake down into each glass and spoon 1 T of the syrup over the top. Line the sides with halved strawberries, pressing them against the glass. Spoon 1⁄4 cup crème mousseline into each glass. Arrange 4 or 5 strawberry halves in the center and top with mousseline, covering the berries. Add a second disk of pound cake to each glass and spoon on 2 T syrup. Top with the almond paste disk and garnish with powdered sugar and thinly sliced strawberries.

What To Drink

“In Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun makes an off-dry sparkling rosé, [$17]. It’s a fruit-forward expression of the area’s granite soil, h with strawberry and a bit of cherry, and perfect with dessert,” says Vaidya.

This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of ELLE DECOR.

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