Ahh those days, when you just want a hearty and comforting meal and then curl up on the couch. Whether it is the winter weather getting you down, or just a very stressful day, there are times when you just want to indulge. And if you are looking for something special, French comfort food will certainly fit the bill.
Recipes that are rich with tradition with classic ingredients from the French pantry, made for generations with thick sauces and heavy creams. These are the classic comfort foods that French people enjoy in their own homes.
Living here in France, I certainly have my favorites to whip up in a pinch. Popular French dishes, with an emphasis on those hearty recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. Are you ready to pick your favorite? Allons-y!
1. French Onion Soup
The French onion soup has a rich history. It became famous after being served to the Duke of Lorraine (who was the ex-King of Poland) and his father-in-law, the French King Louis XV.
Presented to the French Royal family as a succulent and delicate soup, it quickly took the Royal court by storm. Cooked until the onions are caramelized and then topped with heavy gruyère cheese, this excellent French appetizer makes a wonderfully filling dish. Get the recipe for French onion here.
2. Boeuf Bourguignon
Hearty and rich, the traditional boeuf bourguignon used to involve long hours of cooking meat and vegetables in its own juices and wine.
With the Instant Pot however, the classic boeuf bourguignon gets a makeover. Cook this succulent meal in less than half the time. It doesn’t get more comforting that that. Get the recipe for boeuf bourguignon in instant pot here.
Serve with: A light red wine from Bourgogne
If you like cheese and potatoes, there is nothing not to like about a traditional tartiflette from the Alps.
Easy to put together, this hearty meal has copious amounts of reblochon cheese and bacon lardons topped onto sliced potato dish, and is delicious as a side dish or a main dish by itself. A hearty dish from Savoie and the Alps, you can get the recipe for tartiflette here.
Serve with: Local Vin de Savoie and a traditional digestif like genepi to wash it down after the meal.
Dating back to the 1300s from the Occitanie region of France, the cassoulet has been around a long time. A delectable stew made with beans, meat, and sausages, it is traditionally slow-cooked for hours.
It used require that the beans be soaked overnight, but with a few shortcuts and that handy Instant pot, this is one French comfort dish that you can put together just when you need it. Get the recipe for cassoulet here.
Serve with: Cahors or Bergerac red wine. If you don’t like reds, try a white wine such as a Limoux from Burgundy.
5. Gratin Dauphinois
The gratin dauphinois used to be a meal for the poor. Potatoes and heavy cream combined over a fire, this simple and hearty meal is filling and delicious.
These days with rich ingredients like cheese, bacon lardons, and fresh spinach, this classic recipe is a great comfort dish that the whole family will love. Get the recipe for gratin dauphinois here.
6. Coq au Vin: The Classic Chicken Stew
As an alternative to the boeuf bourguignon, the classic coq au vin with chicken is everything you can ask for.
A chicken slow-cooked with vegetables in a stew with wine sauce to tenderize it and bring out the flavors. This cheap and easy dish is the ultimate in comfort food. Get the recipe for coq au vin here.
Serve with: a dry Côtes du Rhone
7. Croque Monsieur: The Easy French Sandwich
The Croque Monsieur may be a glorified ham and cheese sandwiches, but it is a French national treasure.
Laden with butter, cream and cheese, this is the sort of sandwich you must eat as the French do, i.e. with a knife and a fork.
8. French Charcuterie Board
For those lazy days when you want to just pig out without any effort, the French tend nibble on a charcuterie board.
Put together some cheeses and charcuterie, add a bit of wine and baguette, and you have a perfect no-cooking comfort meal that you can graze on all evening long. Learn how to put together a French charcuterie board here.
Serve with: a lovely red wine from Bordeaux
9. Quiche Lorraine
The classic quiche lorraine includes bacon lardons, cheese and cream, and plenty of it. With a base of pie crust and egg, you can then add all types of ingredients you want, such as spinach and cheese, salmon, leeks, etc.
Whatever is available in the fridge, for a quick and easy comfort meal. Get the recipe for a quiche lorraine here.
Serve with: A local wine such as an Alsacian white or red.
10. Chicken Pot au feu
Chicken Pot au feu is a classic French recipe that’s easy to prepare and full of flavor.
If you want to make an easy meal that will combine chicken with all the goodness of vegetables, a pot au feu is the stew you are looking for. You can get the recipe for chicken pot au feu here, as well as the beef version.
☞ READ MORE: Easy Guide to the French Wines
11. Cauliflower egg bake
Known as “Gratin de chou fleur aux oeufs” in French, this delicious recipe a variation of the classic cauliflower gratin dauphinoise.
Because of the eggs, most people think of it as a breakfast recipe, it can be served at any time of the day.
It is quick and easy to put together with plenty of protein and veggies, all without much effort. Who says that comfort food can’t be healthy!? Get the recipe for cauliflower egg bake here.
Serve with: Orange juice or a light white wine from the Loire.
12. Pommes Aligot
If you are visiting France in winter, you have to make it a point to try some pommes aligot. It is a dish made from cheese blended into mashed potatoes, with plenty of cream and crushed garlic mixed in.
Pommes aligot is basically like a cheese fondue, except slightly thicker because of the mashed potato in it. The cheeses in the recipe are traditionally made with the Tomme de Laguiole (Tomme fraîche), or Tomme d’Auvergne cheese. Get the recipe for aligot here.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !