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Frank Kourt Food Dude

If you’d like a magnificent and hearty alternative to what many people consider “fancy French food,” you need only turn to the provinces.

This is peasant food; the meals French housewives make when they look about their kitchens, find the best ingredients and look for creative ways to use them.

You’ll find no haute cuisine here, just very tasty, stick-to-your-ribs recipes that will both tickle the taste buds and fulfill the most demanding appetites this side of the Atlantic.

The fun thing about provincial French food is that you get to use the same wonderfully fresh ingredients, but don’t have to go through all the fuss that traditional haute cuisine dictates.

Herein, you’ll find a magnificent French onion soup, whose secret is a blend of both beef and chicken stock.

The pork chops will bring to your taste buds the flavor of summer and fresh, ripe tomatoes  along with the magnificence of fresh herbs.

Part of the beauty of provincial cooking is that you not only can improvise, but are encouraged to do so. You can throw in a handful of basil in place of parsley; put in four instead of two cloves of garlic; let your culinary imagination run amok.

Enjoy the bounty of the provinces. They can be well loved at any season of the year.

And remember, there are no rules. A big part of the beauty of French provincial cooking is that you work with what you have. And, really, isn’t that the best part of any kind of cooking?

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

4 T butter or margarine

2 T olive oil

3 lbs. thin sliced onions (they cook way down)

1 tsp. seasoned salt

4 T flour

1 quart beef stock

1 quart chicken stock

Preparation:

In a soup kettle, melt the butter or margarine and combine with the oil. Add the onions and seasoned salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes or until the onions are cooked down and a golden brown color. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes.

If you want to dress up your creation even further, take about six one-inch thick slices of French bread, brush each side with a little olive oil and sprinkle on a little garlic salt. Spread them on a baking sheet in a 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Top with grated Swiss cheese and return to the oven briefly, until the cheese is melted. Place a slice of the bread in individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over them when serving.

Pork Chops Provencal

Ingredients:

6-8 3/4” thick pork chops

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves finely chopped garlic

1 16 oz. can tomato puree

1 cup dry vermouth

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, or 2 T dried

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, or 2 T dried

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

Preparation:

In a large frying pan, brown the chops in the olive oil, then put them in a large casserole. Sauté the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and mushrooms in the remaining oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is limp and tender. Stir in the tomato puree, wine, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for about five minutes, then pour over the pork chops in the casserole. Cover, bake in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for about and hour, or until the chops are done. Serve with rice and a cold bottle of rose.

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