International Cuisine Holidays – France’s Bastille Day

cassouletMuch like the celebration of Independence Day in the United States, France commemorates a large part of history every summer. Bastille Day, or La Fete Nationale, takes place every July 14 and celebrates the storming of the Bastille and the Fete de la Federation, each occurring on the same date in 1789 and 1790. The storming of the fortress in 1789 serves as a symbol of uprising and reconciliation of constitutional monarchy in France.

The celebration is highlighted by a military parade every year, as well as numerous fireworks throughout the country. Since the day commemorates the Fete de la Federation, large feasts are also a major part of the tradition. Following the country’s parades, families and friends usually come together for a midday meal with large amounts of food and plenty of French wine and champagne. Following the afternoon meal, rest is usually observed and then another meal is brought out before a bit of music, dancing and fireworks.

If you’re looking for a few recipes to commemorate the French holiday this summer, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few things you can cook up for your own Bastille Day celebration.

Quick Cassoulet

Inspired by the French dish that usually takes hours to prepare, this is a new, faster take on the rustic recipe that combines turkey or chicken with canned beans for a delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 pound turkey kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 15-1/2-ounce cans great northern or cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey, or chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spread breadcrumbs throughout a baking sheet. Bake the breadcrumbs until they are crisp and golden, stirring occasionally for six to ten minutes, and then set aside.

Heat oil in a four to six quart Dutch oven over medium, and then add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir often until it just begins to color, for about five minutes. Add kielbasa, then cook while stirring until lightly brown, for three to five minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, beans, turkey or chicken, thyme, salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer and sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top of the dish and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake until brown and bubbling, for 25 to 35 minutes. Once finished, sprinkle with parsley and prepare to serve.

Desert Crepes

This essential crepe recipe is a delicious take on the classic French treat. Served great with sugar and lemon or served with ice cream and fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt in a large bowl, until smooth. Then, heat a medium sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat.

Grease the pan with a small amount of butter or oil, which can be applied using a brush or paper towel. With a serving spoon or small ladle, put three tablespoons of crepe batter into a hot pan, tilting the pan to allow the surface to be coated evenly throughout. Cook the pan over medium heat with one to two minutes for each side, or until golden brown. Then, serve the crepes immediately.

Do you want to celebrate Bastille Day with some quality cooking of your own? International Food Club has you covered for all of your French cuisine needs. Follow us to stay updated on our changing specials.

 

Recipes from Eating Well:

Quick Cassoulet

Desert Crepes

Photo by Kristen Taylor

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