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Try this Fall Dinner Party Menu with Provencal Flavours

Autumn in Provence

Fall is a beautiful season in the South of France, but regardless of where you live, the season’s arrival signals shorter days. The lingering summer light becomes more radiant, casting an ethereal golden hue across our dinner table. You can enjoy the residual effects of Provencal summer without the oppressive heat of summer. My days are spent basking in the golden sunshine, hoping winter will forget where I live. But the coolness returning to the evening air crushes that dream. And for this reason, I find comfort in a bowl of Fourmade, a Provencal chickpea soup that I often cook as a starter.

Fall Dinner Party Menu

The palate of colours changes at my nearby farmers market, bringing out old favourites and a host of new dishes to explore; for this very reason, a fall dinner party menu. The menu includes a soup, stuffed chicken, a zucchini side dish and a hard-to-resist blueberry galette. The recipes follow below, enjoy the results with your favourite Provencal wine.

Soup:

Provencal Chickpea Soup Fall Dinner Party Menu

Provencal Chickpea Soup (Soupo de Cece)

Chef François de MélogueChef François de Mélogue
My version is based on J.B. Reboul’s classic on Provencal cuisine ‘La Cuisinière Provençale’ and find his recipe for chickpea soup entitled Soupo de Cece. The recipe is easy to master and is surprisingly rich and luxurious tasting, that even my 9-year-old son is convinced it has cream in it.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Soup
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup Chickpea Flour
  • 2 quarts Cool Water
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or Espelette or nothing
  • 2 tsp Flaked Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil

Optional:

  • 2 Leeks washed well and diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 15 oz Canned Chickpeas

Instructions
 

  • Put chickpea flour, water, herbes, cumin, Aleppo, salt, pepper, and oil into a blender and blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour the contents into a Dutch oven and heat slowly over low to medium heat until hot, about 30 minutes, stirring often. Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Optional:

  • For the leeks, slowly cook washed leeks in olive oil over a low flame at a grandmotherly pace until they almost melt, about 30 minutes. Add to soup. For the chickpeas, open can and add both the liquid and the chickpeas.

Serving:

  • This lovely soup lends itself to creative garnishing. Everything from croutons fried in olive oil to small juliennes of Bayonne ham works so well. Experiment with what you like.

Notes

Tip: Use a whisk to stir the soup to keep it from scorching on the bottom.
Tip 2: There is nothing worse than eating gritty leeks, but I learned a trick for cleaning them easily. Dice the leeks and cover them with cold water in a large bowl. Add one (1) tablespoon of salt and agitate the water. The salt acts as an abrasive, and the dirt and sand will settle to the bottom of the bowl. With a slotted spoon, scoop the leeks out of the water. Do not pour the leeks and water through a strainer because you would just be pouring the sand back over the leeks.
Keyword Chickpeas, Herbes de Provence, Leeks
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Main Course:

What most of us adore most about Provence is the simplicity of life there. It is almost as if time stops and we are transported back to a gentler time. A time where the joys of life center around the natural beauty of the small village, sunflowers growing in a field, and the table. It is a quieter, more contemplative time.

Gigotine of Chicken Fall Dinner Party from Provence

Gigotine of Chicken

Chef François de MélogueChef François de Mélogue
This rustic main course is a play on the culinary term gigot (lamb leg). For this recipe, the chicken is deboned and stuffed with fragrant herbs and roasted. I serve the gigotine with a gratin of zucchini and caramelized onions.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Provencal
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 Chicken Legs and Thighs
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 1 Leek washed well and diced fine
  • 1 Sweet Onion peeled and diced fine
  • 2 Carrots peeled and diced fine
  • 1 Fennel Bulb diced fine
  • 1 rib of Celery diced fine
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Herbs summer savory, thyme, basil, parsley, tarragon
  • 2 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock

Instructions
 

  • Remove the thigh bone and put chicken legs aside while you prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil with the garlic and cook until the garlic starts turning amber coloured, about 2 minutes. Add the leeks, onion, carrots, fennel, and celery.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss with the herbs, breadcrumbs, and egg.
  • Lay the chicken thighs out on a counter with the skin side facing downwards. Put about a pinky sized about filling where the thigh bone used to be and roll it up. Use a toothpick or skewer to help keep the stuffing inside.
  • Butter a skillet and lay the chicken on top. Pour chicken stock around and roast for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • To serve, slice the chicken thigh into 4 pieces and leave the leg intact. Arrange on warmed plates with a spoonful of zucchini gratin.
Keyword Chicken
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Side Dish:

The truth be told, I made this zucchini gratin in the heat of summer, which goes completely against everything I believe in for the hot days of the year. However, I ended up serving it with the herb stuffed, gigotine of chicken (above), and it married wonderfully. Zucchini gratin will go with any grilled meat or seafood dish you can throw at it. Give this a gratin a try for helping to cull your herd of zucchini.

Zucchini Gratin Side Dish Fall Dinner Party Menu

Zucchini Gratin

Chef François de MélogueChef François de Mélogue
This creamy gratin that will tickle your palate from the fall and into the winter months.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
 
 

For the Gratin:

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Onion sliced paper thin
  • 6 Zucchini sliced super thin
  • ¼ cup Shredded Gruyere Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups Whole Milk
  • ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Put aside until assembling.

To make the Béchamel:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is foamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

To make the Gratin:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Butter a gratin dish. Put a ½ inch layer of sliced zucchini, followed by the bechamel, and caramelized onions. Top with another ½ inch layer on zucchini slices. Sprinkle the cheese and dot with the butter.
  • Bake the gratin for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes

Sometimes I add wilted greens (spinach, kale, broccoli rabe, etc). Add whet you enjoy eating.
Keyword Zucchini
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Dessert:

For dessert, I am always craving something fruity and rustic like a perfect fruit galette. Though I made this recipe with blueberries and lime, any other fruit can be substituted with great success.

Rustic Blueberry Galette Dessert for Fall Dinner Party Menu

Rustic Blueberry and Lime Galette

If blueberries are not in season, try this dessert with apples or pears.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Passive Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

For the Dough:

  • ¼ cup Almond Flour
  • 1 ¼ cup All-purpose Flour
  • pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 stick (4oz) Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup Ice Water

For the Blueberry Filling:

  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Lime zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar

Instructions
 

To make the Dough:

  • In a food processor, pulse the almond flour, flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. With the motor running, add just enough ice water through the feed tube so that the dough forms into a loose ball. Gather the dough into a ball and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1 full hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Prepare the Blueberries:

  • In a large bowl mix the blueberries, cornstarch, lime, and sugar until thoroughly combined.

Assemble the Galette:

  • On a floured work surface with a floured pin, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Pile the blueberry mixture into the center 8 inches. Fold the edges of the dough over towards the center. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

TIP: Be careful not to overmix the dough or else the crust will be tough. Gluten acts like a muscle—the more you work, the harder it gets. Similarly, when you let the dough rest, it will become softer.
Keyword Blueberries, Dessert, Lime, Tarts
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Fall Dinner Menu à la Provencal for Pinterest Fans:

Provence Fall Dinner Party Menu


Other Fall Menus Inspired by Provence:

Two variations on a fall menu: One celebrates Indian summer with a grilled calamari and radicchio salad, and lavender honey brushed lamb chops served with Moroccan couscous and chickpea salad. While the other, a soupe au pistou and daube of pork cheek gently reminds us of the heartier fare that will soon provide comfort and solace during the darker nights.

Depending on where you live, “Fall might be in the air.” Indeed, in most places in the northern hemisphere, the days are markedly shorter, the leaves are changing colours to rich, warm tones (reds, oranges and yellows). The harvest is done for most kitchen gardens, ahead of the of frosty days. In Provence, the grapes are harvested and starting to become the next vintage. Bright root vegetables are on display in local markets. Foragers search for mushrooms in their “secret” spots. This delicious menu reflects the colours of Provence for a cozy evening with friends.

Please share this with friends and family.

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Chef François de Mélogue

Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François de Mélogue has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

While staging with Robuchon, Chef François began to shape his personal culinary philosophy of “Cuisine Actuelle,” which showcases the natural flavor in the ingredients used to create his dishes. In line with his belief that food should be prepared without unnecessary distractions or alterations, François creates honest, healthy and delicious cuisine that is approachable and always delightful. Chef François specializes in simply prepared Southern French-inspired cuisine enhanced by his appreciation and knowledge of fine wine, craft beer, charcuterie and cheese. He is a fervent student and strong advocate of regional French cuisines, specifically the rustic cuisines of Lyon and Provence. With wife Lisa, they conduct personalized, insider gastronomic tours of Burgundy/Lyon, Provence and the Pacific Northwest.

Chef François resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife Lisa and seven-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. He has written his first cookbook about Provence, entitled Cuisine of the Sun: A Ray of Sunshine on Your Plate, and works for Foods in Season, America’s foremost foraging company specializing in hyper-seasonal, wild foraged and fished foods from the Pacific Northwest.

Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris.

Follow his blog Pistou and Pastis and Simple French Cooking both websites are filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos.

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