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Ever since Julia Child was reinvigerated by Julie Powell in Julie & Julia, especially the screen version, it seems like everyone is trying their hand at France’s most famous beef stew. And with good reason. It’s delicious and fun to make… once. After I got married, and we started entertaining at home more, I jumped on the wagon too. For every dinner party I had two winters ago, I made a Boeuf Bourguignon. It takes a long time to prepare, as you likely know, but you can do all the work early, let it cook in the oven for hours while you get ready, the house smelling delicious when your guests arrive.

Living in France, my trouble was that our guests (and my husband) had grown up with Boeuf Bourguignon like Americans grow up with macaroni and cheese. Their mothers all cook it expertly, recipes are passed down through generations, and I was worried my attempt simply wouldn’t live up to expectations. It would be a little like my mother-in-law trying her hand at Southern BBQ ribs or cornbread. It just might not … work out.

To my delight, as my first guests took a bite, they assumed my belle-mère had given me a frozen pot of her own Boeuf Bourguignon to warm up. I’d duped them all. Success! Of course it was her family recipe. There are a few tricks to getting a Boeuf Bourguignon perfectly French, and I’ll do a video soon on just how that’s all done.

Once I’d gained confidence in my Boeuf Bourguignon, the next trouble was what to feed the guests when they came back for the next dinner party. You certainly can’t feed them the same meal and hope they won’t remember! Heaven forbid. This would be a real faux pas to the French! It would show lack of imagination, bordom, laziness or perhaps all three. Stumbed for ideas on how to continue to impress my French guests, I asked my belle-mère for suggestions. She gave me plenty, and I’ll share them all in time.

But for now, let me introduce you to the French Frichti.

Like Boeuf Bourguignon, Frichti is a traditional French recipe for winter. It’s a stew like dish that sticks to your bones and keeps you warm. It makes the house smell decadent. It is much simpler to prepare than a Boeuf Bourguignon and it only takes about 35 minutes to cook.

Too boot, it goes impeccably with full body reds, like a Bordeaux or a Côte de Rhône.

Françoise’s French Frichti (timing: 5 mins prep, 35 minutes cooking)

Ingredients: (for two couples)

  • 800g (28oz) porc filet mignon
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large can of skinned tomatoes cut in pieces
  • Herbes de Provence (or orageno, parsley, thyme and basil)
  • Salt & pepper

Cooking instructions:

  1. In a meduim pot, sauté chopped onion in olive oil on med-low heat until they turn transparent.
  2. Add porc cut up into pieces. Turn up heat to meduim.
  3. Add the tomatoes.
  4. Add the herbs, S&P.
  5. Let simmer on meduim heat for 35 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.

Serve with boiled new potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice.

Bon Appétit!