The 15 best dishes of Northern France
Northern France food is based on 3 “pillars” : beer, fries and generosity. It’s a rich and bounteous cuisine, to warm you up during the long winter evenings 😉 You share it with friends and family, at home or in restaurant.
1. “Carbonnade flamande” = beef stew cooked in beer, with gingerbread and sugar
My favorite dish above all !
Just lovely with nice crispy fries. This belgian (flemish) dish can be eaten in any restaurant or brasserie in Northern France.
Long simmered in dark beer, the meat pieces are melting…
It’s not really “light” but it’s gorgious.
2. “Flamiche au Maroille” = creamy cheese pie
Maroille is a (very) stinky cheese, but it looses most of its strong taste & smell when it’s cooked.
For the Flamiche, it’s melted with cream on a brioche dough.
With a salad (lettuce or northern France chicory), it’s lovely.
3. “Potjevleesch” = flemish (Dunkirk) jellied meat pot
Potjevleesch is made of pieces of chicken, rabbit, pork and veal, cold, in jelly. It’s cooked in beer and carots are added to the meat.
It is usually served with fries (which melt the jelly) and salad.
If you can, go to Godewaersvelde (in Flanders): you’ll find “Le roi du Potjevleesch” (The King of Potjevleesch) or “Le Blauwershof” (“The smuggler’s”, a flemish tavern) where you’ll eat the most delicious Potjevleesch.
4. “Moule frites” = mussels with Fries
You can eat this “culinary speciality” in a famous restaurant in Lille (“Aux Moules”).
But the best place to eat “moules frites” is on the “Côte d’Opale” : Dunkerque (Dunkirk), Calais, Saint-Omer, Boulogne-sur-Mer, where the mussels are fresh.
You can find “moule frites” in any taste : “à la crème et au vin blanc” (with cream and white wine), “marinières” (with onions and parsley), “au roquefort”, “à la bière” (cooked in beer), “au pastis”, “à la provençale” (with tomatoes, garlic and olives), “au curry”…
5. “Welsh” = Cheddar, beer, ham, egg, fries…
Melted cheddar in beer, ham (or not), an egg (or not) that cover a piece of toast (also cooked in beer).
This dish is a shame for French cuisine and the worst enemy of Weight Watchers… but it’s so good!
Delicious with fries (and a small salad…).
6. “Lapin aux pruneaux” = rabbit with prunes
The rabbit is cooked in a mixture of onions, bacon and white wine which make a super tasty and creamy sauce.
You can eat it with fries or pasta, but preferably with steamed potatoes or, even better, with delicious “rattes du Touquet” (firm small potatoes from Le Touquet).
7. “Waterzooï” = flemish chicken or fish casserole with vegetables
Waterzooï means “boiling water” in flemish.
It can be made with chicken or with fish. You thus use chicken broth or fish stock, with cream and/or butter.
It’s a mix between a soup and a stew.
It is served with vegetables. Delicious with fries.
8. “Langue lucullus” = smoke ox tongue and foie gras
Foie gras alone is not enough. Not enough loaded 😉
So some folks in Valenciennes invented the “Langue Lucullus” in the 1930’s. It is a mix between ox tongue, smoked and cooked in broth, and foie gras.
This specialty is eaten as an appetizer on grilled hot toast, sometimes accompanied by onion confit and a white wine.
You’ll find it mostly during Christmas.
9. “Chicon au gratin” = endive with ham in cheese and bechamel
Once again a Flemish/Belgian dish adopted by Northern French.
Endive (chicory) wraped in ham and covered with cheese. A little bechamel on top of it all, and in the oven to make a “gratin”.
The way it’s cooked removes the bitterness of the endives.
Eat them with nice potatoes (no fries, for once !)
10. “Coq à la bière” = rooster casserole cooked in beer
The pieces of rooster marinate overnight with sliced carrots, onions, bouquet garni, garlic cloves, juniper berries and dark beer.
You cook it with bacon, cream and sugar and let it simmer during hours.
You can eat it with fries, of course, or with mashed potatoes.
11. “Croquettes de crevettes grises” = shrimp croquettes
A traditional flemish dish, the shrimp croquettes are a mix of flour, cheese, milk and egg, to which you add shrimps and parsley, before frying them.
They’re usually served with lemon wedges and a salad.
Some restaurants add bechamel in the croquettes, a shame !
12. “Poulet au maroille” = chicken cooked in stinky cheese
Maroille again ! 🙂
It is a very simple but tasty dish. Chicken (tight or breast) cooked with Maroille and cream. Some recipes also add blond beer…
You eat it with fries, pasta or mashed potatoes.
13. “Hochepot” = Northern France pot-au-feu
One of the oldest dishes of all, the first recipe was written around 1300 between Flanders and Hainaut.
It’s a flemish pot-au-feu with oxtail, mutton shoulder, bacon or sausage, and vegetables (potatoe, carrot, leak, cabbage, celery…).
Depending on the recipe, are also added parsley, thyme, bay leaf and onion studded with cloves and juniper berries. And a big marrowbone.
(My mother makes the best Hochepot in the world).
14. “Boudin noir aux pommes” = black pudding with apples
Boudin is a bit peculiar. Either you love it or you hate it.
This dish is very simple but tasty. The boudin is cooked with baked potatoes, onions and caramelized apples.
15. “Fricadelle frites” = spicy ground meat sausage
Surely not the finest dishes of all, but definitely the most typical.
You have to find à “barraque à frites” to eat a fricadelle with belgian fries full of mayonnaise or Samuraï sauce 😉
Even better: ask for “un américain fricandelle sauce andalouse” (a sandwich in wich there are a fricadelle and fries, with a sauce mixing mayonnaise and tomatoes).
I hope you enjoyed this list of dishes of Northern France. Fell free to comment or ask me any question !