French cuisine is widely considered to be a complicated gastronomic feat, which certainly deters many from attempting it. Of course, this is what world-renowned French chefs would like you to think. It’s a branding thing!
Ever since I arrived on French shores, my food adventure has enhanced my cooking experience. Now, I like cooking, but there is a limit to what I like to attempt. My French mother-in-law is a great cook, so my goal is to stop competing with her and take it slow and easy in improving my skills.
Here are 2 easy french dinner recipes for two that I would like to recommend for those who are less adventurous. These recipes focus more on the right amount of quality ingredients, rather than cooking techniques, ultimately helping you in gaining confidence to impress your date!
Another tip is to get yourself a pressure cooker. Many great tasting French dishes result from slow cooking or pressure-cooking.
#1 Coq au Vin
This dish’s name literally means chicken cooked in wine. It sounds fancy, but it’s much easier to make than many people think.
- 2 organic/ farm chicken legs
- 2 tbsp of cooking oil
- 2 handfuls of button mushroom, sliced (0.5 cm thick)
- 1 onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup of red wine
- 3 basil leaves
- 2 sprigs of dried thyme
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- flour (for dusting)
1. First, sprinkle the flour, salt and pepper over the chicken, and rub them in with your hands.
2. In a pan, heat the cooking oil and, using tongs, brown the chicken on all sides. Once done, transfer the chicken to your pressure cooker.
3. Stir-fry the onion and button mushroom in the same pan, then transfer them to the slow cooker along with the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
4. Tear up the basil leaves with your fingers, and add them – along with the dried thyme – to the pressure cooker.
5. Pour the red wine over the mixture and let the pressure cooker do its work for around 3 hours.
Cooked rice and boiled baby carrots are perfect sides to serve with this dish. To impress your date even more, presentation is important. Here’s how to present this dish:
1. Use a medium-sized bowl and fill it up with rice. Then overturn it onto your serving plate.
2. Place the boiled baby carrots beside the rice.
3. Sprinkle some dry parsley over the carrots.
4. Place the chicken leg at the side of the rice and carrots; then pour the sauce on top of both the rice and carrots.
#2 Beef Steak with Butter Cream Sauce
A lot of French food is all about the sauce. This is a sauce I genuinely love, and yet, it is so easy to prepare.
- 2 pieces of rump steak (the size depends on you and your date’s appetites)
- 2 shallots, sliced
- ½ cup of white wine
- 50g of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp of crème fraîche
- salt and pepper
- 1 sprig of dried thyme, branch removed
- 1 tbsp of cooking oil
1. In a saucepan, heat the shallots and wine over medium heat until the liquid boils down to 1/3 of the original amount.
2. While waiting for the sauce, sprinkle the thyme leaves, salt and pepper over both sides of the steak. Then, heat a frying pan along with the cooking oil and 2 cubes of butter. As the butter melts, brown the steaks on all sides. If you like them rare, just brown each side for 1-2 minutes, or cook them longer if you prefer them well done.
3. Turn your attention back to the sauce. Add the remaining cubes of butter and stir the mixture.
4. Stir in the crème fraiche. Once it is mixed thoroughly, turn off the heat.
This dish tastes great when served with roasted baby potatoes. To serve, just place the steak on one side of the serving plate. Roasted baby potatoes are then placed on the other side. Pour the sauce on top before serving or serve the sauce in a serving bowl.
So, good luck with your romantic meal. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a nice bottle of wine. Ask at your wine store for a recommendation based on the dish you plan to cook. Candlelight will perfect the presentation of these dishes by creating the perfect ambiance. Bon courage!