Now that fall is here we've switched from eating outdoors to eating hearty meals indoors. This French Fall Menu reminds me of the best parts of eating in Paris in the fall. A delicious squash soup, a hearty main course, and a light dessert to finish the evening. The dinner is cozy and perfect for dinner with a few friends.
Since I won't be traveling to Paris soon, I teamed with my friend Anina Belle of Le Chef's Wife to put together this delicious menu. Anina Belle lives in Washington, D.C with her French chef husband ( hence the name of her blog) and her two kids.
Anina Belle and I are both Francophiles and her food blog has amazing and simple French recipes. She brings her love of all things French and the combined expertise of her and husband for some delicious recipes.
Her site has become my go-to resource for simple and classic french recipes. And her writing reminds me of trips to France and eating in family-owned bistros.
Tips For a Successful French Fall Dinner Party
Despite what people may think French food is not always about complicated sauces or complex techniques. Often, it's about great tasting food, simply prepared so the delicious flavors of the food come through.
Prepare in Advance. Choose recipes that you can make in advance. When guests arrive you don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen while your guests are in another room. All these dishes can be prepared ahead of time and three of them can easily be reheated right before your guests arrive.
Set the Mood. Use a combination of candlelight (unscented candles) and dimmed lights. Play some soft music in the background. Just enough to be noticed but not loud enough where your guests have to talk over it. Set the table with fall colors and a simple low flower arrangement.
Serve L'Aperitif. Help your friends relax by welcoming them with something to drink (alcoholic or nonalcoholic) and a light bite. For the l'aperitif I made these tasty Gougères with three different cheeses. My friend Anina Belle says this helps your guests transition from the concerns of the day to a more relaxing atmosphere.
What to Serve for the Entrée
Anina Belle made this beautiful and tasty Butternut Squash Soup with Sage for the entrée. It's the perfect soup for a fall French menu. It can be made a day in advance and then reheated right before your guests arrive. The crispy sage is made in the microwave so need to rush around last minute to put the soup together.
Serve the soup with a French baguette so your guests to mop up everything last drop of this delicious soup.
The Perfect Roast Chicken
Now we're onto the main course. For a menu that allows you to spend as much time as possible with your guests and less time in the kitchen roast chicken is perfect for the main course and Anina Belle has a fantastic recipe for French Roast Chicken. This chicken looks so good that my mouth waters every time I see it.
Not only is roast chicken one of my favorite dishes, but in this recipe, the potatoes are roasted in the same pan and the potatoes are tender inside and crispy outside. Complete the plate with roasted broccoli or roasted carrots.
Start roasting the chicken an hour before your guests arrive. By the time you're ready for this delicious main course the chicken has cooked and had time to rest so it stays juicy. If you're not confident about your carving abilities carve the chicken in the kitchen and arrange the pieces on a platter. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts you may want to cut them in half.
Arrange the potatoes around the chicken or place them in your best serving bowl for a beautifully arranged meal.
Leave a Lasting Impression
Anina Belle says to leave a lasting impression with dessert and these Cinnamon Apple Crepes will definitely do that. Tender buttery crepes are filled and topped with cinnamon and brown sugar apples and whipped cream.
Both the crepes and the cinnamon apples can be made in advance. Reheat the crepes in the oven at 175 degrees F for 10 minutes (cover with foil so they don’t dry out) and the apple topping can be reheated in a saucepan just before serving.
Top with sweetened whipped cream and powdered sugar and dessert is served.
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More Tips for Making This French Dinner Menu
- Make a grocery list and go shopping for ingredients at least one week in advance.
- For the ingredients that need to fresh, such as the sage, shop for those items 2 days in advance.
- Make the gougeres up to 2 weeks in advance and freeze them. Rewarm them in a 350F oven 15 minutes before your guest arrive.
- Make the butternut squash soup 1 to 2 days in advance, store in airtight containers and reheat in a 4 or 5-quart saucepan and start reheating on low about 45 minutes before your guests arrive.
- Clean as you go. As you prep and do the last minute cooking stack dishes in the dishwasher or neatly in the sink. Wipe down the counters a you cook.
Please let me know if you make this French Fall Dinner Party Menu. Anina Belle and I had a lot of fun creating and cooking for this menu. Connect with us on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar and @lechefswife.