French Cooking Friday: Croquant Ratatouille & Double The Desserts!

When dinner fits into a large bowl, you know it’s a good one. Today’s main dish from A Kitchen In France boasts a meaty and veggie filled meal perfect for chilly spring days. Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille is one of those recipes that make the entire house smell incredible all day. It even lingers into the next day making everyone who enters your home hungry and jealous of your professional cooking abilities. The other two dishes we have for you today are desserts. One, a simple fruit and wine combination that is pure culinary sophistication. The other, simple and elegant yet delicious. Take a look and dig in!

MAIN: Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille
The slow cooked lamb starts on the stove and finishes for a few hours in the oven. It bakes low and slow all day in a broth that has onions, garlic, carrots, herbs and celery. Instead of lamb, I used a pork roast because it was already in the freezer. It turns out a little milder in flavor and less gamey but still delicious. The pork roast (depending on its size) doesn’t need as much time to cook so as you’re checking on it every two hours, be careful not to let it over cook. You’ll end up with a dry, stringy piece of meat.

The Croquant Ratatouille is a delicious mixture of vegetables sauteed on the stove. The vegetables cook in two batches before coming together so everything cooks even. It takes hardly any time to bring this together. The chopping gets a little tedious since the vegetables need to be diced rather than chopped but it’s well worth it. Instead of plating this as a side, I used the Croquant Ratatouille as a bed for the slow cooked pork and spooned some of the liquid from the roast all over the top. It’s such a comforting dish and the leftovers are equally delicious.

Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille 1.0.jpg

DESSERT #1: Pears a la Medocaine
If you’re not a baker and prefer desserts that are almost impossible to mess up, this one is for you. Start by making the red wine syrup. A few ingredients come together on the stove to a boil. The pears soak for a few minutes before everything gets transferred to a bowl. The pears refrigerate for about 24 hours and your dessert is ready. No cooking, no baking. Just a little boiling and stirring before calling it a day. I used red pears for this treat. I find them a little sweeter than green pears which works well with the dry red wine. A few things to note: make sure the pear is still slightly firm otherwise it will be hard to manage and start to disintegrate in the wine syrup. Second, choose a wine that you’d enjoy drinking. If you don’t like the wine itself, you won’t enjoy the dessert.

DESSERT #2: Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water
For those of you like me who are not particularly confident in their baking abilities, I introduce you to the apple tart. Tart dough is not as temperamental as pie dough making it much easier to throw together. The filling is also simple. Homemade apple sauce and sliced apples layer together for the simplest fruit dessert you’ll ever make. It’s also such an elegant presentation. It’s a great option to bring to parties or serve guests when you don’t want to go overboard.

Catch up on our French Cooking Series HERE. In case you’re new or haven’t had a chance to read about our journey cooking through A Kitchen In France by Mimi Thorrisson, read our very first post HERE