Tips for Making Great Low Carb French Cuisine
French cuisine is renowned around the world for some of the most delicious recipes and wonderful combinations of flavours unlike any other style of cooking. For low carb dieters, French cooking offers many advantages to create delicious, healthy meals with an added flair that definitely speaks to the origins of the recipes and the history behind the methods of preparation that have been perfected in France.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common ingredients in French cooking, as well as some of the methods and techniques that are essential to know before you begin exploring the wide world of French recipes. Fortunately for low carb dieters, French cooking relies heavily on many ingredients that are already low in carbs such as poultry and other meats, and plenty of vegetables. Even those recipes that do contain ingredients with carbs can be easily altered and substituted for low carb alternatives. Now, let’s begin with a look at some of the most common ingredients and techniques found in French cuisine.
Common French Ingredients
For starters, French recipes often contain a variety of vegetables common in many other European styles of cooking. Mushrooms, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, leeks, carrots, and turnips are just a few that you will see frequently in French recipes.
French meals also utilize a varied palette of herbs and spices to add depth to their flavours. Some of the most popular herbs and seasonings used in French cooking include tarragon, sea salt, herbes de Provence, rosemary, thyme, sage, and fennel.
For entrees, French foods often utilize poultry such as chicken or game bird, like pheasant, duck, or squab. Other meats common in French cooking include beef, veal, lamb, pork and more. Seafood ingredients include fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines, as well as shrimp, mussels, and other shellfish.
Eggs are another very common and popular ingredient in French cooking, including hard boiled, scrambled, and their use in a wide variety of different omelettes. Of course, we would not be able to complete our look at French ingredients without mentioning their famous perfection of frog’s legs and escargot.
Popular French Cooking Techniques
Many recipes that originate from France will feature classic cooking techniques and methods that were developed in that region, many of which are totally unique to the world of French cuisine. Here are some of the most common French cooking techniques that you should be familiar with.
Sauté – This basic method for food preparation can also be described as simply frying foods in butter, oil, or some type of sauce. Usually done in a saucepan, sautéing is common for preparing both meat and vegetables using high heat.
Poaching – This method of cooking involves water that is hot, but not quite boiling, to produce a gentle environment for preparing delicate foods. Poaching is often used to cook eggs to a very specific point, as well as to prepare fish. For our guide to making the Perfect Poached Egg, click here.
Braising – Braising is a method for cooking meats that begins with a short period of high heat to seal in the moisture, and then covered to retain a hot and humid cooking environment. Braising is often done in slow cookers and crock pots.
Flambé – While this is probably not something that you’ll want to tackle during your first foray in to French cooking, flambéing is certainly a well-known and exciting cooking method. Using a type of alcohol added to the dish, and done at the end of the cooking process, the dish is set on fire by the chef and the flames quickly burn off, producing a visually impressive experience and leaving behind unique flavours.
Now that we’ve explored some of the common ingredients and methods that are used in the preparation of many French dishes, let’s take a look at a few fantastic recipes. These are all low carb versions of classic French meals that will definitely be great additions to any weekly meal plan and will certainly get rave reviews from your family and friends!
Crepes are so much more than just a thin pancake. They are light, fluffy, and only get better when you fill them with delicious ingredients such as cream cheese, jams, fruits, and even chocolate. Crepe chefs know that the secret to getting perfect results is having a great technique, and this recipe includes tips on how to properly cook and flip your crepes. For a faster method of making crepes, try this excellent French Crepe Mix from Dixie Diner.
This dish could very well be the most famous French food of them all. French Onion Soup is served all around the world, and for good reason. It’s a hearty, comforting soup that tastes great and can be used as an appetizer, or even as the main course of a meal. This low carb version is loaded with cheese and uses protein buns for an interesting twist on this classic dish.
Here’s a signature French food that is light and delicate, and makes a perfect accompaniment to a latte. Macarons are colourful little French cookies that are frequently found at fancy coffee shops and gourmet bakeries. This recipe lets you make delicious low carb pistachio macarons at home, and the results will be spectacular. Serve these with coffee or cocktails, and enjoy!
This fricassee is a unique French twist on the one-skillet cooking method that combines fresh vegetables and succulent chicken in a rich, creamy sauce to produce a hearty meal that the whole family will devour. This particular version features broccoli rice, which adds an unusual texture to this dish and elevates it above other stews. The chef recommends a finish with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, and to serve on a warm plate. Sounds good to us!
We’re sure that you’ll agree that with recipes like that, low carb dieters everywhere should be enjoying all that French cuisine has to offer. France has a rich and diverse history of food, with many unique variants of the most classic recipes served at French restaurants around the world.
Cooking traditional French foods the low carb way often requires very little change to most recipes. Since so many French recipes focus on meats and vegetables, they are a natural fit for any low carb meal plan. We hope that this information has been helpful, and that you’re inspired to try some new recipes crafted in the spirit of expert French chefs. Bon Appetit!