Friday, December 2, 2022

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Chuck’s Favourite French Recipe Classics

Chuck Williams (1915 – 2015)

All the things French was pure magic to our founder, Chuck Williams. To start out a scrumptious culinary dialog, the one ingredient you’d want was the phrase “France” – and Chuck would immediately serve up tales with the aptitude of a Parisian bistro kitchen. His many cookware shopping for journeys by way of France over the many years each knowledgeable his cooking and established the numerous heritage French manufacturers that we nonetheless function immediately.

When it got here to his love for France’s iconic delicacies, Chuck had some buzzwords that eloquently describe the best way we proceed to prepare dinner immediately: “Seasonality. Freshness. Creativeness. Honesty. Simplicity.”

To rejoice his French legacy (and his birthday on October 2nd!), we’re sharing eight of the recipe classics (in no specific order) Chuck cherished finest.


1. Crepes

Chuck believed that the success of a dish can depend upon utilizing the precise pan for the duty – and crepes are an incredible instance. After tasting them on his first journey to Paris in 1953, he needed American cooks to have the ability recreate these basic flavors and textures at dwelling. 

For the proper pan, he turned to De Purchaser – a French firm that’s been well-known for excellent cookware since 1830.  “We introduced these blue metal pans to American dwelling cooks round 1980 – and you’ll depend on them to make completely uniform crepes each time.”

2. Boullabaise

France’s native specialties had been favorites with Chuck – together with bouillabaise, the well-known Provençal fish stew. To make a home-cooked model, he’d advocate the dependable enameled-cast iron cookware he got here to know and love on his early journeys to France – and utilized in his personal kitchen for over 50 years.

When Chuck first found Le Creuset, it got here in a single reddish orange shade known as “flame.” He purchased cookware instantly from the manufacturing unit and launched it to American dwelling cooks, who cherished the best way it might go proper from the stovetop or oven to the desk. Today, Williams Sonoma sells Le Creuset in a rainbow of colours – together with stunning exclusives.

3. French Onion Soup

Chuck appreciated to recount the historical past of French onion soup. It grew to become a culinary legend within the nineteenth century Paris market district of Les Halles, the place the native revelers and market employees would congregate at neighborhood bistros for a post-midnight pick-me-up after an evening in town. 

Considered one of Chuck’s favourite methods to serve home made soup was in an Apilco lion’s head bowl (which works fortunately from broiler to desk).  He found the wonder and flexibility of the basic French white porcelain on his second shopping for journey to France in 1960 – and the gathering has been a Williams Sonoma favourite ever since.

4. Steak Frites

Chuck would inform fond tales of strolling by way of the neighborhoods of Paris and discovering the native bistros. His conversations with bistro cooks taught him loads concerning the energy of easy dishes like Steak Frites, which might typically be discovered among the many plats du jour (day by day specials).

Chuck used this inspiration to convey again cookware that makes it straightforward to recreate that genuine sizzle in a house kitchen. Within the Nineteen Seventies, he found Francis Staub’s high-performance French enameled cast-iron cookware – and it’s one in all our all-time favorites for making bistro classics (and many different issues) at dwelling.

5. Brioche

Travels in Europe launched many Individuals – together with Chuck – to the easy happiness of fresh-from-the-oven breads like brioche. He suggested that brioche does finest with an extended, gradual rise (suppose: in a single day). And Chuck would all the time say that these iconic French flavors are well worth the wait.

For home made brioche, we’re followers of the basic fluted baking dish from one in all Chuck’s favourite French makers, Emile Henry. It’s handcrafted utilizing native Burgundian clay that heats gently and evenly, so your brioche bakes with the identical perfection Chuck found within the wealthy, buttery bread he fell in love with in France.

6. Coq au Vin

Coq au vin is without doubt one of the timeless French dishes that was legendary with Individuals through the Fifties (and past). Chuck talked concerning the recipe’s affect on American cooks, together with the French means of cooking utilizing the freshest, seasonal substances. One other French affect? Basic copper cookware.

On Chuck’s first shopping for journey to France in 1959, he visited Mauviel—a small, family-owned firm in Normandy that provided copper cookware to Europe’s prime eating places. He instantly started carrying the French pots and pans at Williams Sonoma, the place they grew to become prompt favorites in American kitchens.

7. Soufflé

Chuck took quiet pleasure in the truth that he’d inspired American cooks to whip up basic French soufflés – and he was all the time pleased to share the secrets and techniques to creating them. His favourite ideas? Room temperature egg whites, an unlined copper bowl and a balloon whisk.

He’d reminisce about the best way soufflés appeared to defy gravity and the way their show-stopping loftiness elevated American cooking within the late Fifties and early 60s. Chuck’s most popular baking important? Apilco’s iconic white porcelain souffle dish

8. Madeleines

For those who had been baking with Chuck, he’d inform you a literary madeleine story. He’d discuss how these little sponge desserts had been immortalized by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Issues Previous. And he’d say one of the best ways to take pleasure in them is simply as he imagined Proust did: “heat from the oven with only a little bit of crispness on the surface.”

Skilled madeleine pans had been a few of the first bakeware that Chuck introduced again from France within the late Fifties. After all, these had been the normal ones, product of tinned metal or aluminum. At the moment, baking madeleines may be even simpler with modern silicone and Goldtouch nonstick pans.

At the moment, we’re proud to proceed to foster Chuck’s legacy—not simply by persevering with to help and prepare dinner with these fantastic heritage manufacturers he dropped at America so a few years in the past, however by in search of to find so many new ones that assist us discover the fantastic world of meals.


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