Classic French main courses, from Bouillabaisse to Duck à l'Orange.
Food & Wine
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Lyon-Style Chicken with Vinegar Sauce
When chef April Bloomfield tried a classic version of vinegar chicken in Lyon, she wished it was tangier. So, back home, she adds a hefty amount of Banyuls wine vinegar to the sauce. "I love the way the vinegar froths up when you add it to the pan," says Bloomfield, who finishes the chicken in the sauce to infuse it with extra flavor.
Because a single duck rarely has enough meat to feed more than two or three people, Jacques Pépin prepares two ducks side by side when serving this classic dish to guests. And because he's roasting whole ducks, he cooks them until they're well done, which results in the crispiest skin and best flavor.
Melissa Clark's favorite part of the chicken is the drumstick, because it's juicy and easy to brown. She likes using only drumsticks in this mustardy stew—thickened with tangy crème fraîche—so that all the meat cooks at the same rate.
This is Daniel Boulud's take on Wiener schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal cutlet. He lightens the dish by making it with thinly pounded monkfish fillets, breaded on only one side. He serves it with a mix of asparagus, zucchini and butternut squash.
Crunchy Almond-Crusted Duck Breasts with Chanterelle Salad
Duck is often paired with something sweet, as in canard à l'orange. Jean-Georges Vongerichten tops it here with chopped sugar-coated almonds. The sugar burns slightly as the meat is broiled to form a bittersweet crust that pairs beautifully with the juicy richness of the duck.
Although there are innumerable versions of cassoulet, most are based on a stew of white beans and various forms of pork. The dish gets its name from the pot it's traditionally baked in, the cassole, which is often shaped like a wide inverted cone to insure the greatest amount of luscious crust. This version includes duck confit and the French garlic sausages that are a specialty of Toulouse.
When Cathal Armstrong was growing up in Ireland, his father (a travel agent and avid cook) made all kinds of Spanish and French dishes, including a great bouillabaisse. Now Armstrong serves his own phenomenal bouillabaisse, packed with shrimp, mussels, clams and monkfish.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple-Riesling Sauce
Chef Debra Whiting loves the fresh goat cheese from the local Lively Run Dairy so much that she always works it into her dinner menu. Here, she mixes the cheese with apple, sausage and greens, then stuffs it inside a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. To balance the richness of the cheese, look for a wine with good acidity, like a dry or semi-dry New York Riesling.
Daniel Boulud broils snapper right on dinner plates, topping the fish with citrus, diced jalapeño and bell peppers. A simple radish-fennel salad goes alongside. An easier way is to broil the snapper on a baking sheet, then serve it with a salad that combines all the bright, crisp flavors of the original dish: fennel, radishes, bell pepper, citrus and jalapeño.