Quenelles à la Provençale

Fancy typical French food with a double-twist? Try my Quenelles à la Provençale. They are a mix of traditional quenelles from Lyon, with a delicious vegetables, herbs and olives tomato sauce from the southern region of Provence. That’s surprisingly one of the first dishes I created when I came back to France in 2010 after almost 8 years living abroad. Surprising because I used to rarely eat quenelles before. But once I’ve tried out this recipe, I just fell in love with it. Besides, it’s a quick meal fix and you can freeze it without fearing to loose the flavors. 

First of all, did you know my first cookbook got published? It’s called Cookbook #1: A French Girl’s Cooking Adventures in Her Kitchen, and it’s available online, you’re just a click away, RIGHT HERE!

When I make a Provençale sauce at home, the mandatory ingredients are tomato, onion, garlic, olive, herbs and olive oil. If one has to be missing, it can only be the onion, otherwise we don’t have a Provençale. That’s my strong opinion on this very serious matter. However, in that particular recipe, missing out the onion can’t be an option.

Quenelle is a specialty food from the city of Lyon, in the region Rhone-Alpes in France. It is a mixture of egg and creamed fish mousseline. There are two main varieties: either plain quenelles, or pike quenelles for those who like more fish flavors. I wouldn’t say they’re easy to make, and most people around France are simply buying them pre-cooked from the grocery store. In the recipe below, I used plain quenelles, but sometimes using pike quenelles is nice too, and they’re suitable for the tomato sauce recipe as well.

Quenelles a la Provencale

Ingredients (for 2 pax):

  • 6 small or 4 large quenelles
  • 1 can of pealed tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can of tomato paste (about 3 tsp) + twice its quantity of water
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 big white mushrooms, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar (to reduce the acidity of tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 2 tsp of basil
  • a dozen green olives, pitted

Cooking Time: About 20 to 30 minutes

Directions: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan, and cook the mushrooms along with the onion till golden.
  2. Lower fire to medium.
  3. Add the tomato paste and water. Stir well.
  4. Add the pealed tomatoes and juice, cut them into cubes and add the sugar.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and basil.
  6. Add the olives and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the rice if you plan to serve some along.
  8. Gently put the quenelles in the pan, roughly cover them up with some marinated sauce, and cook for about 15 minutes.
  9. Be very gentle when stirring the sauce and flipping the quenelles regularly, to cook them on all sides and prevent from sticking to the pan despite the generous sauce.
  10. Serve with white rice.

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2015 All Rights Reserved.

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