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The Essence of French Cooking

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In this intensely personal book, Michel Roux distills a lifetime’s knowledge into a definitive, lavishly illustrated work on French food and cooking. Based around 100 classic recipes, ranging from a simple Squash Soup to the more time-rewarding challenge of a Daube de Boeuf à la Beaujolaise, all the diversity of French cuisine is explored.

“Best Cookbook of the Year” in the UK at the 2015 Gourmand Awards

30,000 copies sold.


Sample Recipe:

Navarin d’Agneau Printanier (Navarin of lamb)

This is a classic of true French cuisine that several regions of France, including Paris, claim as their own. It is a rich-tasting sauce-based dish, but is still light and is always popular. It’s also very good reheated.


Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4.  Heat the clarified butter in an ovenproof sauté pan that has a lid. Sprinkle some salt and the sugar over the pieces of lamb and add to the pan.  Brown over a lively heat until coloured all over, then transfer immediately to a colander.

Add the carrot and onion mirepoix to the same sautépan and sweat over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, without letting them colour.  Add the flour and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon over a gentle heat.  Pour in the wine, increase the heat, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

Now add the stock, garlic, diced tomatoes and the bouquet garni.  Bring to the boil, then add all the lamb pieces back to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.  Check the lamb is cooked: the pieces should feel tender when prodded gently with a finger, and the tip of a knife should slide in with no resistance.

Remove the pieces of lamb one at a time from the pan and place in a dish, then cover with a very damp tea towl.  Reduce the cooking liquid in the pan over a medium heat to a semi-syrupy consistency.  Strain through a fine chinois, add salt and pepper to taste and place the pieces of lamb back in the reduced juices.  Keep hot, at around 70 – 80C.

Cook the baby carrots, turnips, onions and potatoes separately in lightly salted boiling water. As soon as they are cooked drain well and mix in with the lamb.

Pod the peas and broad beans and cook in boiling water for 1 – 2 minutes, then drain and keep warm.

Serve the lamb in a copper or earthenware dish, adding the peas, broad beans and parsley leaves to the top of the dish at the last moment.


60g clarified butter

20g caster sugar

1 shoulder of new season lamb, boned and cut into 8 pieces

400g lamb middle neck on the boat, cut into 4 pieces

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into mirepoix (2 – 3cm cubes)

30g plain flour

200ml dry white wine

1 litre chicken stock

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 large tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced

1 medium bouquet garni

8 baby carrots, peeled

8 baby turnips, peeled

12 baby white onions, peeled

8 small new potatoes, peeled

200g tender peas in pods

250g young, tender broad beans in pods

Salt and freshly ground pepper

A few flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve