Cozy French Recipes for Chilly Winter Nights

Greg DuPree
Greg DuPree

As the temperature drops, there's nothing quite like a warm and comforting meal. French cuisine is known for its rich flavors and hearty dishes, making it a cozy choice for cold winter nights. In this list, you'll find a selection of classic French recipes, from a light Cheese Soufflé to a hearty Boeuf Bourguignon, that are sure to bring a touch of warmth to your home. 

Boeuf Bourguignon

Courtesy of Tom Hopkins and The Family of Jacques Pépin
Courtesy of Tom Hopkins and The Family of Jacques Pépin

This recipe for the decadent beef stew comes from Jacques Pépin. He doesn't use stock, demi-glace, or even water in his stew, relying on robust red wine for the deep-flavored sauce.

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Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee

© Frances Janisch
© Frances Janisch

Daniel Boulud makes this oozy appetizer with Vacherin Mont-d'Or, a creamy cheese sold at cheese shops. Camembert is as rich and runny as Vacherin Mont-d'Or, but much easier to find.

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Cheese Soufflé

© Matthew Armendariz
© Matthew Armendariz

This light and airy soufflé boasts both Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyère cheeses and gets a little sharp complexity from Dijon and dry mustard. Wrap the ramekins with tin foil to keep them from overflowing. 

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Creamy Chicken-and-Mushroom Fricassee

© Tina Rupp
© Tina Rupp

This is a classic French recipe that combines tender chicken, earthy mushrooms, and a rich, creamy sauce to create a mouthwatering meal. This recipe is perfect for a special occasion or a cozy night in and can be served with a side of mashed potatoes or rice to soak up all of the delicious sauce.

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Cauliflower Gratin

© Lisa Linder
© Lisa Linder

Gratins are the gooiest way to cook vegetables with "loving care," as Julia Child once said. This cheesy casserole gets spice from a pinch of nutmeg and white pepper. This outrageously rich sauce, flavored with salty, nutty Manchego, gets poured over sautéed cauliflower and baked until it's golden and bubbling. 

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Gateway Cassoulet

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

By cooking several recipe components separately in the same pot before combining them all to meld in the oven, Sylvie Bigar reduces the active cooking time for cassoulet to a little over an hour, while retaining the long-cooked, richly developed flavor of the traditional recipe. 

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Roasted "Reblochon"

Photo by Justin Walker / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Photo by Justin Walker / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

In the French Alps, Reblochon, a bloomy-rind cow's milk cheese, is melted in a special brazier for reblochonnade — a meal of the melted cheese served with roasted sausages, boiled potatoes, and other bites. While unpasteurized Reblochon isn't imported to the United States, there are many American farmhouse cheeses (such as Jasper Hill Farm Little Hosmer or Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill) that make wonderful substitutes for this reblochonnade.

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Sauvignon Blanc-Steamed Mussels with Garlic Toasts

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Toasted garlic bread and mussels steamed in Sauvignon Blanc come together in this recipe. You can use this recipe to make the classic version with wine and butter, or customize the flavors in your pot of mussels by swapping out the white wine in favor of clam broth, sake, or lager.

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Coq au Vin

© Tara Fisher
© Tara Fisher

This classic French dish translates to "rooster in wine," and is a celebration of rich, hearty flavors, with tender chicken braised in a flavorful red wine sauce with bacon, mushrooms, and onions. The result is a mouthwatering and comforting meal that is perfect for a special occasion or a cozy night in.

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Caramelized Onion and Bread Soup with Brûléed Blue Cheese

Greg DuPree
Greg DuPree

In this vegetarian version of classic French onion soup, blue cheese and oloroso sherry add depth and layers of flavor. Notes of toasted nuts and fruit compote in the sherry pair well with caramelized onions, and its briny acidity cuts through the richness of the cheese.

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Seared Scallops with Pomegranate and Meyer Lemon

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

At Bavel in Los Angeles, chef Ori Menashe serves shallow bowls of scallop aguachile, and diners can't get enough. Our riff on his raw dish sends scallops to the skillet for a quick sear before serving them with fresh lemon, orange, and pomegranate juices and serrano chile to bring heat and fresh, fruity flavor to sweet scallops.

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