French cuisine is extremely elegant and classic. Let us see a few French Christmas recipes to help you in you next Christmas dinner.
1. Marinated Goat cheese
France is known for its cheese, so this would obviously be at the top of the list. A well marinated cheese that is served with a delicious, thickly sliced and toasted whole-grain bread is sure to be a winner. This marinated cheese also pairs excellently with salads also. A tip would be that if you have a large log of cheese, cut into smaller cubes before marinating and serving as this would make handling and eating it easier.
Three two ounces of fresh goat cheese logs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Two fresh bay leaves
Two sprigs of fresh thyme
Two cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
One tbsp. black peppercorns
One tbsp. pink peppercorns
Carefully and with care put the logs of goat cheese in a widemouthed glass or ceramic jar (not plastic).
Add sufficient amount of olive oil so that the cheese is covered completely. Add the bay leaves, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, and pink peppercorns.
Cover with cling wrap and let the cheese marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 days and maximum of up to 1 week. Remember to bring it to room temperature before serving.
2. Stewed Garlic and grilled Leeks served on toast
Salt, as per taste
6 small leeks, use only the whites and pale green parts
7-9 tbsp. Of extra-virgin olive oil
2 peeled garlic heads
6 slices of hearty bread with a good crust
(Optional) 4-5 anchovy fillets cut into thin strips
Freshly ground black pepper
Liberally salt a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, ensure that you wash them thoroughly. Add the leeks to the boiling pot of water and cook on medium heat until they are soft. Drain and transfer to a large plate, and allow them to cool. Then toss the leeks in 2 tbsp. of the oil and set aside.
Preheat a charcoal grill. While that is heating, put garlic into a pot of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat for five minutes. Drain the water and repeat again with fresh water. Do this process one more time, so that the garlic is quite soft but is not falling apart. Drain the water completely. Crush the soft garlic using a mortar and pestle to form a coarse paste. In this, stir in 1 tbsp. of the oil and set aside. Grill the leeks in the charcoal grill, turning occasionally until lightly charred. Brush the bread with 2–3 tbsp. of the oil and grill until golden.
Spread he garlic paste on the pieces of toast. Cut the leeks lengthwise and put them on the toast. You can garnish with anchovies, or serve without. Drizzle each toast with a little more oil and season with salt and pepper before serving.
3. Roasted Oysters in a white wine sauce
This one is deceptively simple and a total crowd pleaser, not to mention extremely elegant. Basically all that needs to be done is baking the oysters with some salt, and topping it with some dry white wine to finish.
Preheat the oven to 475°. Make a bed of coarse salt on a roasting pan, and nestle the oysters, flat side up, in it. Bake until the shells open up. Take off the top shells, ensure that the oyster liquor does not spill, and cut the muscles to release the flesh. Drizzle about 1 tbsp. Of white wine over each oyster.
4. Walnut and Endive salad
This salad is an excellent choice for Christmas as it is great for the cold winters. This otherwise crips salad gets an extra kick when the nuts and cheese are added.
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cut and peeled large shallots
1 clove of peeled and minced garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SALAD:
4 large trimmed Belgian endives
6 oz. Comte cheese, that are cut into small cubes
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Vinaigrette: In a large salad bowl, whisk together the mustard and the vinegar. Add the olive oil, remember to whisk constantly. Add the garlic and the shallots, whisk, and then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Salad: Cut the endive into thin slices. Add the endive, cheese, and the walnuts to the vinaigrette and toss well. Season to taste and serve.
5. Whipped buttery potatoes with garlic and cheese
1 lb. unsalted butter
2 and 1⁄4 lb. potatoes peeled and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and smashed to a paste
1⁄2 cup milk
1 tbsp. bacon fat
1 1⁄4 lb. Grated cantal cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Over medium to low heat, heat the butter in a saucepan. Add potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until they are soft and mushy. Smash them with a wooden spoon.
Increase heat and add the garlic paste, milk, and bacon fat and stir well. Add the grated cheese in small amounts, ensure that the first batch has melted before adding the next batch, and stir it in. Season potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Whip with a wooden spoon until they become very silky and smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.
6. Herbed Beans
This recipe brings a beautiful sophisticated twist to the=is basic recipe
2 lb. Trimmed slender French green beans
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄3 cup mixed chopped flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Take a large pot of water and salt generously and bring it to a boil. Add the green french beans and cook until tender. With the help of a spoon, transfer the green french beans to a bowl of ice water to let chill. Drain and pat dry.
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green french beans and cook until tender. Mix in the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
7. Rack of lamb
If done correctly, this lamb comes out beautiful and tender. You have to use a technique called “Frenching the meat” which means you have to remove the layer of muscle and fat going towards the end of the rib bones.
12″ Cast-Iron Skillet
1 and 3⁄4-lb Frenched rack of lamb
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 extra sprigs
10 cloves garlic, smashed
Pre-heat the oven to 450˚. Season lamb well and generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12″ cast-iron skillet, add lamb, fat side down and cook, using tongs to flip. Make sure there is an even sear the bottom and sides of the rack. Turn lamb fat side up in the skillet and sprinkle herbs over the top.
Add garlic to the skillet and transfer the whole thing in to the pre-heated oven. Roast until Lamb is medium rare. Take out and let it rest for five minutes before slicing into chops and serving.
Pairing Tip: This Elegant roast lamp can be paired with a rich red bordeaux
8. Punitions (Shortbread cookies)
In traditional French shortbread cookies, a salted butter with high fat content is used to make them extra buttery and rich.
MAKES ABOUT 60 SMALL COOKIES
10 tbsp. salted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until it becomes pale and fluffy Add egg and continue beating till the mixture is smooth. Switch to low speed and add the flour, and keep mixing until just combined. Turn the dough over to your work surface and knead it slightly. Make small balls, and flatten them. Wrap the disks separately and refrigerate for about an hour to cool the butter.
Pre-heat oven to 350º. Transfer the disks to a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll them out 1⁄4″ thickness. Cut them into rounds using a cookie cutter, and transfer to a baking tray. Remember to line the baking tray with parchment paper. In case you done have parchment paper, butter the tray and dust with flour. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set. Transfer them to a cooling rack and bring to room temperature before serving.
9. Yule log cake
This traditional Christmas dessert is given a French twist by filling with coffee buttercream and then covered with a rich chocolate ganach.
1-Quart Sauce Pan
13×18 Rimmed Baking Sheet
Large Kitchen Towel
5 tbsp. Melted unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup cake flour
2⁄3 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar, separate
1 tbsp. dark rum
For the Ganache Icing, Coffee Buttercream Filling, and Finishing:
14 oz. 70-percent dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
1 1⁄3 cups sugar, divided
6 egg whites
2 tsp. green food coloring
24 tbsp. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. strong brewed espresso
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Edible gold dust, to decorate
Meringue to decorate: Pre-heat oven to 200°. In a bowl, add 1⁄3 cup sugar and 2 egg whites and set over a pot of simmering water; stir the mixture well. Remove the bowl from the pot and beat with a hand mixer on high speed until cooled. Place 1 cup meringue in a bowl, and stir a little bit of the green food coloring; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 3⁄8-inch star tip. On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, pipe small Christmas trees. Transfer the rest of the uncolored meringue to a piping bag with a 3⁄8-inch-round tip; Pipe mushroom caps and mushroom stems. Bake all the christmas trees and mushrooms till they are crisp, set aside and let them cool.
Ganache icing: Place chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a separate sauce pan, bring the cream and honey to a boil, turn off heat and our over the chocolate. Stir with a spatula, till the mixture is smooth and silky. Let it cool and thicken for a minimum of six hours, but overnight would be best.
Coffee buttercream filling: Put one cup of sugar and four egg whites in a bowl and place over a pot of simmering water, and stir well. Remove bowl from simmering water, with the help of a stand mixer, beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add melted and cooled butter to meringue, beat, and stir in espresso. Set aside.
Sponge cake: Pre-heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In the bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs on high speed till it resembles thick ribbone when the whisk is lifted, then gently fold in the butter and flour. Spread batter into an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 12 mins, or till a toothpick inserted, comes out clean. Invert the cake on a kitchen towel, this will make it easier to roll. Roll the cake with the towel inside, as this will help with the shape. Let it cool to room temperature.
Rum syrup: Over high heat, Bring 2 tbsp. sugar, rum, and 1 tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar has dissolved completely and set aside to cool.
Assembling the cake: When it has cooled, gently unroll the cake and remove the towel. Brush the inside of the cake with the rum syrup; leave for two minutes so that the cake soaks up the rum syrup. Next, spread the buttercream evenly over cake, roll the cake, make sure the seam of the roll is facing down, and set side on a serving platter. You may wish to cut the side to get a more even looking cake and so that it looks better aesthetically, but not doing this will not alter the taste in any way. With the buttercream you may also wish to create a small “Tree stump”. Once done, cover with the chocolate ganache and make sure to spread it evenly. Use a fork to form lines to create texture so that your cake resembles a log of wood. Use the small meringue Christmas trees and mushrooms to decorate the cake further. Sprinkle with edible gold dust and serve.