Favorite French Recipes

Before I give you a recipe I have discovered in France, here are a few photos I recently took around Paris, most of the Christmas variety.

Christmas lights in one of the most beautiful passages in Paris, Galerie Vivienne.

I liked the reflection of these silver birds into a silver dish that I saw in the window of a florist in the Marais.

This Christmas window was in a hotel near the Odeon metro stop. I love the red cardinals.

One recipe that I discovered here in France is Farci. I don’t think its orgin is French but rather middle-eastern. There are many dishes around the world including in France, that arrived along with immigrants-farci is one. I tried to do a google search to find the source of this meal but the closest I came was that the word farci means stuffed. My mother used to make stuffed peppers that I wasn’t that fond of which consisted of hamburger meat mixed with rice, put into a green bell pepper and topped with a tomato sauce. Here in France I see farci offered often on menus and sold in street markets-either just the meat or already all done ready for cooking. Vegetables used for cooking are bell pepper, zuchinni-they these cute little round varieties that are good for this-tomatoes and sometimes mushrooms or onions. This recipe is from the book, On Rue Tatin by Susan Loomis. Two friends who do alot of French cooking looked at the recipe and said, “Hmm, milk and bread?” Maybe this is an Americanization of the usual Farci recipe, I’m not sure, but I know many Americans add that to their meatloaf recipes. I tried to make this recipe from memory once and, my memory being what it is, forgot the milk and bread and it still tasted great.

Stuffed Tomatoes (Tomatoes Farcies)

2 slices fresh bread
1/2 cup milk
2 pounds juicy tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, diced
1 3/4 lb. lean minced pork (sometimes I use half pork with hamburger meat or veal)
1/4 c. fresh tarragon leaves (I used 2 Tb. dried)
1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 c )
Tear the bread into small pieces, put in bowl, cover with milk, let sit about 30 minutes.
Slice the top off each tomato and remove the seeds and most of the inner pith. Lightly season with salt and pepper and place in oven proof dish.
Heat oil with the onions and garlic over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes, transfer to bowl. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl with onions and garlic.
Add the bread and milk to the bowl along with the pork. Chop the tarragon and parsley and add along with the eggs. Blend the mixuture thoroughtly-you will probably have to use your hands..
Evenly divide the stuffing among the tomatoes (or zucchini). Place the tops of the tomatoes on top. Bake until deep golden color, about 1 hour. Drizzle the tomatoes with the cooking juices in the pan.

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