10 Easy And Quick Continental Recipes Worth Trying

Continental dishes, covering most of European cuisine, spans a variety that is absolutely delicious and tempting. From the classic French fare to the quaint little shops of Italy, continental cuisine is a thorough crowd-pleaser. There is something for everyone and although most of the recipes can be termed complicated, there are always a few that have simple processes and are a delight to savour. 10 dishes from this hearty European spread – full with recipes – that are simple to prepare and high on taste.

1) French Onion Soup

The French cuisine is termed as one a complicated one and brings amazing dishes to the table. The classic French onion soup should be a good start and is pretty simple to make.

2-3 tbsp butter
3-4 large onions, thinly sliced
Vegetable stock, if available, or water
1 bay leaf
Cheese for garnish
Salt and pepper powder to taste

Melt butter in a deep bottomed pan and add in thinly sliced onions. Cook these on a low flame for about 30 minutes till they are brown and caramelised, taking care that they don’t get burnt. Stir them frequently.
Once done, add in the vegetable stock and bay leaf. Season this with salt and pepper and bring this to a boil on a low flame, till you achieve a soup like consistency – not too thick not too runny. This will take about 10-20 minutes.
Discard the bay leaves, pour the soup in bowls and garnish with cheese.

Traditionally, after pouring the soup in the bowls, these are topped with a small slice of baguette (bread) and garnished with cheese then baked for 2-4 minutes.

2) Chicken Au Gratin

Au gratin can be best described in two words – creamy and baked. Apparently, this dish hails from Belgium and has found its way across the globe, winning hearts everywhere. The process to gather this dish is fairly simple and the end result is absolutely delectable.

2-4 tbsp butter
4-6 chunks of boneless chicken
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4-5 medium to large potatoes, cut them as for French fries
2 cups cream, whisked
Herbs of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

Season chicken chunks with salt, pepper and herbs.
In a pan, melt the butter and cook the chicken chunks till golden-brown on both sides. Remove and keep aside. Saute onions and mushrooms in the same pan till they turn tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Grease a baking pan and place the chicken chunks. Top them with potato strips and the mushroom-onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour cream all over this assembled mixture and coat everything well. Season with salt, pepper and herbs one more time. Finally, garnish with a generous amount of cheese or less, depending on choice.
Cover this baking pan with an aluminium foil and poke a few holes to allow the steam to escape. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius for about an hour or until the potatoes are tender.

3) Shrimp Paella

Paella is a rice delicacy from Spain that is cooked with meat in traditional recipes. Slow cooking rice with herbs and meat is the key behind this dish and although it might look complicated, the effort is all about gathering the ingredients.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 spring onion, finely chopped or regular onion, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves
100-200 gms green peas
100 gms sausages, sliced
4 peeled shrimps
300 gms long grained basmati rice
1 ltr stock or water, hot
Salt to taste
Turmeric, half a tsp

Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic cloves, sliced spring onions or onions and saute till onions turn tender, but not brown. Add in peas and sausages, cook till sausages are done.
Once done, add in the rice and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock or water, season with salt and add in the turmeric. Bring this mixture to a boil on a low flame. When the rice is almost done, add in peeled shrimps and cook for a further 3-5 minutes, till shrimps and rice are cooked thoroughly and the water dries up.
Check for salt and add in more if required.
Serve hot.


4) Pasta in White Sauce

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to cook and the best part is that the recipe can be experimented with, according to personal preferences. ‘Life is a combination of magic and pasta’, said the Italian film director Frederico Felleni, and there’s no denying that fact.

400 gms macaroni (or any pasta of your choice)
1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter
½ or 1 cup spring onions, finely chopped
½ to 1 cup cream
Cheese of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chilli flakes and oregano (leftovers seasonings from ordering the pizza!)
Herbs of your choice

In a deep pot, bring water to boil with a teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt. Add pasta after the water comes to a boil. Once done, drain the pasta in a vessel, saving the drained water. Run pasta under cold water and keep aside.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add chopped spring onions and saute till they turn tender.
Once done, add in the cream and stir continuously to blend with the onions.
Add ¼ cup of reserved water from the cooked pasta and cook on a low flame. Season with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice.
Garnish with lots of cheese and serve hot.

5) Potato Rosti or Roesti

Not only does Switzerland capture the hearts of tourists through its gorgeous landscape, but also it effortlessly does so by the food it serves. Since recipes for Swiss chocolates are a secret, here is another one of one of the most famous and much-loved Swiss dishes.
2 large potatoes or 4 medium sized potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel, wash and grate the potatoes. Between your palms, squeeze these grated potatoes and remove as much excess water as you can. Pat it dry with tissue papers or a clean kitchen napkin. Season with pepper and keep aside.
In a frying pan, melt the butter and add in vegetable oil. Adding oil prevents the butter from burning.
With your hands or with the help of round moulds, take the grated potatoes and shape them into patties. Cook them on both sides till they turn golden-brown, taking care not to burn them.
Remove on paper towels and serve hot, seasoned with salt.

6) Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a French stew, so famous that it even inspired a movie by the same name. The French are in love with food and it shows in their style of cooking with subtle use of herbs that doesn’t overpower the main ingredients. For that reason, here’s an easy recipe of ratatouille that can be made in a jiffy.

1 cup roughly chopped onions
1 cup roughly chopped capsicum
1 cup sliced eggplants (optional)
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 tsp minced garlic cloves
3 chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs of your choice
2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ to 1 cup water
½ a bay leaf or 1 small bay leaf

Heat olive oil in a deep bottomed pan and add in minced garlic. Saute till slightly brown.
Add in onions, capsicum, eggplants and zucchini, cook till they just turn tender (not mushy).
Once done, add in tomatoes and let them cook.
Stir in cold water, add bay leaf, season with salt, pepper and herbs. Let this stew simmer till it turns thick.
Discard the bay leaf and serve hot with rice.

7) Shredded Chicken Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Salads are a welcome change in meals on any day. Continental cuisine boasts of various salads with even more delicious dressings. The crunch of fresh, raw vegetables coated with a flavourful dressing is refreshing for the taste buds. And thankfully, salads are easy to prepare.

100-150 gms of thick yogurt
200 gms salad vegetables – lettuce leaves, bell peppers, broccoli florets, zucchini or cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 big garlic clove or 2 small cloves, crushed
A handful of roasted/cooked shredded chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, whisk the yogurt till it turns smooth, add in lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Let the dressing sit for about 10 minutes.
In a deep bowl, toss together mentioned salad vegetables and chicken shreds. Pour the dressing and coat the vegetable-chicken mixture thoroughly with the dressing.
Check for seasoning, add salt or pepper if required.

8) Risotto

Risotto is another delicacy from Italy which is a relish. Traditionally, special risotto rice is slow-cooked, generally in meat broth, till all the flavours of rest of the ingredients blend in. Patience is the key for this dish that is relatively simple to prepare. Once the final product is off the heat, all that effort is worth it.

1 cup basmati rice
2-3 tbsp butter
½ cup finely chopped spring onions or regular onions
½ cup frozen or cooked green peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs of your choice
½ ltr water

Melt butter in a pan and add onions, saute till they turn tender and light brown.
Add rice and saute for 2 minutes, add green peas and then stir in water. Season with pepper and herbs of your choice and bring to a boil on a low flame.
Stir in between checking on the rice. The whole boiling process will take around 20-30 minutes.
Not all of the water is to be dried, risotto is a slightly mushy dish.
Serve garnished with cheese.

9) Roasted Lamb

When it comes to family meals, roasted lamb is the go-to dish in continental cuisine. It’s heavy, delicious and a favourite that constitutes an important part of the spread. Slow-cooking the lamb is an essential process which binds the flavours of herbs and brings out a meaty, roasted flavour. It is generally served with a thick sauce that is stewed with the fat of the lamb which enhances the flavours of the sauce.

2 kgs lamb (leg)
4-5 cloves small garlic
Herbs of your choice
2 tbsp oil
1.5 cup carrot chunks
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 litre water
Salt to taste

Using a sharp knife, make cuts all over the lamb; poke garlic cloves and herbs through these cuts. If not cooking immediately, cover the lamb and put it in the refrigerator. Remove it one hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
In a large pan, heat oil and brown the lamb from all sides. Keep aside.
In a deep baking dish, take carrot chunks, onion chunks, garlic, herbs and stir in water. Season with salt. Add lamb to this dish.
Roast for about an hour and 45 minutes, turning the lamb halfway through.
Once done, remove the lamb from the dish, cover with a foil and let it rest for half an hour.
Take the remaining stock from the baking dish and bring it to a boil on simmer, till it turns slightly thick.
Discard the fat that comes on the surface while boiling this sauce.
Serve lamb with this gravy.

10) Smoked Fish Chowder

Chowder is a thick milk or cream based soup, with vegetarian and specifically, seafood options. This hot bowl of soup hails from England and France and uses everyday ingredients that are easily available. Chowder apparently migrated to the rest of the world with immigrants sharing this recipe around the world. Here’s one of the simplest recipes that takes less efforts and time.

1-2 tbsp oil
1-2 spring onions, thinly sliced
500 gms potatoes, chopped
150 gms smoked salmon fish fillets
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup or less thick cream
4-5 cups water, more or less as required
Salt and pepper to taste

Take the salmon fillets and shred them with a fork. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a deep vessel and saute thinly sliced spring onions till they turn tender.
To this, add the potatoes, water, cover and bring this to a boil till the potatoes turn soft and are cooked.
Once done, mash the potatoes roughly in the vessel itself. You could also blend them thoroughly with a blender.
Add shredded salmon, corn kernels and cream to this mashed mixture. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
Bring this to a boil, about 4 minutes and serve hot.

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