Menu: A Classic French Dinner

For a cold winter night, gather your friends together to linger over an elegant meal of buttery-rich, timeless French classics.


  1. The veal, paté, scallops, and chocolate mousse are all featured in our 150th issue. For more classic recipes from the issue, see the gallery.

  2. For sustainably raised and butchered veal, as well as other high-end meats, see our "Guiltless Luxury" round-up.

  3. To make the chocolate shavings for the mousse, hold a block of chocolate and pass a vegetable peeler over the narrowest edge.

  4. Pair the veal with a well-balanced Bordeaux white; we recommend the light, refreshingly acidic 2006 Chateau de Fieuzal, which compliments the veal's cream sauce. See the article.

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Todd Coleman RECIPE: Blanquette de Veau (Veal in Cream Sauce)
This dish of delicate veal, butter and more butter, cream and carrots consistently ranks in the top ten when the French are surveyed about their favorite dishes. This recipe comes from author Alexander Lobrano, who wrote about the dish for our 150th issue.

SERVES 6 to 8

3 lb. boneless veal shoulder, cut into 1″ chunks
1 bouquet garni (1 tsp. coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns, 3 sprigs thyme, 2 whole cloves, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, and ¼ bunch parsley stems, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
10 oz. pearl onions, peeled
16 baby carrots, peeled
2 small bulbs fennel, each cut into 8 wedges
10 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
5 ribs celery, cut into 1″ pieces
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2½ tbsp. flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
Cooked white rice, for serving
⅓ cup crème fraîche
Parsley leaves, to garnish

RELATED: Classic French Recipes

1. Bring veal, bouquet garni, and 10 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, occasionally skimming any impurities that rise to the surface, for 30 minutes. Add onions, carrots, and fennel, and cook for 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and celery, and cook until veal is very tender and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer veal and vegetables to a bowl; cover and keep warm. Pour cooking liquid through a fine strainer into a bowl; place 4 cups in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to 2 cups, about 30 minutes.

2. Wipe 6-qt. saucepan clean and return to medium heat; add butter. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add reduced stock and cream, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened and slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Return veal and vegetables to sauce, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne; divide among bowls with rice. Drizzle with crème fraîche; garnish with parsley leaves.

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Todd Coleman RECIPE: Chocolate Mousse
This simple yet sophisticated, airy yet intense concoction has been a hit with home cooks in America at least since the New York Times published its first recipe for the dessert in 1955. Suddenly, it seemed that every hostess was beating egg whites to perfection, folding them into melted chocolate, and chilling the mixture in crystal bowls for dinner parties.


1 ⅔ cups heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Chocolate shavings, to garnish

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1. In a large bowl, beat cream, vanilla, and salt with a whisk until stiff peaks form; chill. In another large bowl, beat egg whites with a whisk until soft peaks form. While whisking, slowly add sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add melted chocolate to egg whites, and fold until almost incorporated; add whipped cream and fold until completely incorporated. Divide among serving cups; chill. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings before serving.