An Unfussy French Dinner Party Menu

This french dinner party menu is perfect for anyone who loves the bold flavors of French cuisine but can’t stand the complicated recipes and methods. No fancy ingredients required, just French staples like cream, wine, butter, and local ingredients just about any supermarket will have. Make everything on this menu ahead of time, and you’ll be well on your way to hosting a super, stress-free dinner party.

Crudites with Whipped Feta Dip

Crudites are a fancy French name for veggies and dip. I like to choose vegetables that are in season and cut them up or blanch them ahead of time. Serve this herby, whipped feta dip with the crudites of your choice, and a freshly cut up baguette.

Crudite veg dip

Ingredients:

  • 150 ml of milk
  • 50 ml whip cream
  • juice of one lemon
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon
  • One clove minced garlic
  • black pepper

Break the feta down in a blender or food processor for about a minute, then add the buttermilk. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth, Then, add the fresh herbs, garlic, and blend for another 30 seconds to a minute, until well combined. Grind fresh black pepper and taste. Add more buttermilk or cream if it’s too thick and salty. Serve with freshly cut vegetables and crackers if necessary.

Beef Bourguignon

I’ve used a variation of Julia’s Child recipe every time I make Beef Bourguignon and it always turns out well. Even if I mess up the measurements or have to get creative because I’m missing ingredients, slow-cooked meat in red wine is never a bad idea.

Tip: Beef Bourguignon tastes best after a couple of days, so, if possible, try to make it at least a day or two in advance.

Beef Bourguignon, a classic french dinner party menu dish that can't be beat.

Ingredients:

  • 150g bacon, diced (or you can buy lardons)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 pounds stewing beef cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme (or 1 tbsp dried thyme)
  • 3 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 1 jar pearled onions
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1.5 lbs button mushrooms, quartered
  • a handful or two of parsley

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300F. Fry bacon or lardons in a heavy pot or dutch oven until crispy. Remove bacon and brown the beef. I like to pat my meat dry with a paper towel before browning and add a tablespoon or two of flour to coat. Place browned beef on a plate. Saute the onion, garlic, and carrot for 5 minutes on medium heat until softened.

Add the bacon and meat back into the pot, the red wine, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, thyme (fresh is best if you can find it), tomato paste, pearl onions, and the beef stock.

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, quarter the button mushrooms and sautee them in 4 tbsp of butter for about 10-12 minutes. Try not to move them around too much in the pan, so they brown nicely.

After 4 hours of cooking, remove stew, and season to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes, fresh parsley, and warmed sauteed mushrooms.

Easy Mashed Potatoes

Traditionally, Beef Bourguignon is served with boiled or steamed potatoes. But mashed potatoes are ten times better. They soak up all the delicious sauce, and they’re always a crowd-pleaser.

Tip: Try and use Yukon Gold potatoes for mashed potatoes because they’re dense and don’t absorb too much water.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 150ml whipping cream or table cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Peel your potatoes, and place in a large pot of heavily salted water (like 3 tbsp). Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook for 30 minutes or until very soft when pierced with a fork. Drain, mash, and add the cream and butter. Mix again with a spatula or wooden spoon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate truffles are the perfect ending to a french dinner party menu.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate truffles sound fancy, but they’re not. They require three ingredients and can be made over a month in advance and make a fantastic ending to a french dinner party menu. Or, any dinner party for that matter.

Ingredients:

  • 225g 60% or higher chocolate
  • 120g whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

Finely chop about 225g (8oz) good quality chocolate and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Warm a small bowl or measuring cup of 120ml whipping cream (1/2 cup) in the microwave until warm, about 1 minute. Pour the warmed cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes. I like to put a plate on top to lock in the heat.

Use a spatula to mix the cream and chocolate until smooth and shiny. Then, pour the ganache into a small shallow baking pan or Tupperware container. Cover and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once firm, place cocoa powder in a bowl and start scooping out your ganache to make the truffles. You can use gloves here or work quickly, so the precious ganache isn’t wasted on your fingers. Roll the ganache balls in the cocoa powder and set aside in a container, stored in the fridge.

Are you inspired to give this French dinner party menu a try?

Let me know if you make this menu, what you like (or don’t like), and what other dinner party menus you’d like to see on this blog. And if you’re looking for other posts, check out some related posts below:

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