12 Complete Menus from Chef John That Celebrate World Cuisines
If you've ever wanted to tour the world's best cuisines with your own private chef, well, maybe this is the next best thing. We've gathered together complete menus that feature Chef John's top-rated recipes inspired by world cuisines. This collection visits more than a dozen ports of call, and includes meals inspired by Italian, Mexican, Vietamese, German, Irish, Spanish, Indian, French cuisines, and more! These recipes are a great source for themed dinner parties or just for dinner with the family when you want to explore something exciting and new.
Italian Inspired Menu
Here you have a choice between two flavorful pasta sauces: a sausage spaghetti sauce or a classic bolognese sauce. Pair them up with a couple Roman-inspired side dishes, including a farro and wild mushroom dish that might date back to ancient Roman times! "We don't get to eat a lot of food that's identical to what the ancient Romans would have eaten, which is one of the things that makes farro so fun. They must have had mushrooms and fermented cream back then, so it's easy to imagine Cleopatra and Mark Antony enjoying this dish." For something green on the side, try Chef John's roasted Romanesco.
German Inspired Menu
This menu showcases Chef John's sauerbraten, which features a 24-hour marinade that ensures succulent short ribs "with that signature tanginess." The surprising secret ingredient? Gingersnaps! They give the sauce great texture and add sweet spiciness. Serve your 'braten with homemade spaetzle, "micro-dumplings" that cook in mere minutes, or with
soft, comforting roasted potato dumplings drizzled in browned butter.
San Francisco Feast
This menu includes a couple legit San Francisco recipes and one...that's maybe not so much. You can likely guess which is which. Cioppino is a spicy fish and shellfish stew created by Italian-American fisherman in San Francisco. "Pair a big bowl with a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, and it's downright otherworldly," says Chef John. As for the Rice-Ah-Roni, Chef John says, "The next time I see it served here will be the first time." But authentically San Franciscan or not, Chef John's version sure makes a tasty side.
Italian Feast, Part II
Since we're talking about Chef John's recipes, we couldn't very well limit ourselves to just one Italian menu. Here we're pairing pork shoulder, braised in a creme fraiche sauce until incredibly tender and delicious, with homemade polenta garnished with crisp sage leaves. And we'll finish things off with panzanella. The key to Chef John's Italian bread salad is "frying the bread cubes in loads of olive oil in a skillet, which obviously makes them crispy. But the healthful fat also soaks into the bread cubes and renders them semi-waterproof, or dressing-proof." And we've only scratched the surface here; for more, check out Chef John's Best Italian Recipes.
Mexican Inspired Menu
Invite the friends over for this big meal! "There's nothing like carnitas," says Chef John. "Cubes of fragrantly spiced pork are slowly cooked in lard until they're crispy on the outside while at the same time remaining soft and succulent inside. Bust some up on a warm tortilla, drizzle with braising liquid, top with a little salsa, onion, and cilantro, and you're probably enjoying the world's best taco." Serve your tacos with Chef John's refried beans and Spanish rice. For more, check out Chef John's Best Mexican Recipes.
Caribbean Inspired Menu
With this menu, we're touring islands of the Caribbean! That means jerk wings, grilled mojo skirt steak, red beans and rice, and fried plantains. "The 'Jerk' style of cooking comes to us from Jamaica," says Chef John. "The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. It has just 3 basic ingredients and since the spice mix is so flavorful and intense, we don’t need to add much." The rice and red beans with sausage pair up beautifully with the sweet plantains. "
French Inspired Menu
This complete French dinner features coq au vin, the classic braised chicken dish with mushrooms, bacon, onions, and red wine. We've paired it with green beans with roasted garlic, toasted slivered almonds, and blue cheese; an Alsatian bacon and onion tart; and a French onion soup with a couple purely American twists.
Irish Inspired Menu
This menu pairs lamb stew with soda bread and colcannon. For the stew, Chef John recommends paying particular attention to the cut of meat. "I used lamb shoulder chops, which are a fantastic value, when you consider flavor, useable meat, and price. They will probably be the cheapest lamb at the store, have more flavor and richness than leg meat, and are cheaper than shanks and loins. It takes a while for the meat to braise and fall off the bone, but it's a wait rewarded with tender, succulent chucks of lamb." He has some thoughts on soda bread, too. "This is one of the best quick breads you'll ever have. Subtly sweet, with a light, tender crumb, and not at all dry."
Spanish Inspired Menu
This collection of Spanish-inspired recipes would make a nice tapas-style meal. "Every Spanish restaurant serves this dish of shrimp cloaked in garlic-infused olive oil with smoky hints of paprika and a touch of sweetness from sherry," says Chef John. Just spoon the shrimp and sauce over toasted bread and sprinkle more cayenne and parsley on top to enjoy. We've paired it up with Chef John's crispy patatas bravas and a simple bean ragout.
Another German Inspired Menu
One German menu wasn't enough. Here we've paired traditional beef rouladen with braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes. "For something that looks and tastes as impressive as this beef rouladen, it's actually one of the simplest stuffed meat recipes I know," says Chef John. "You can pretty much use any cheap cut of beef; I used round steak, but rump, chuck, flap meat, and other similar cuts will work work. The braised red cabbage is a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy, with a tiny hint of caraway to interest you."
Vietnamese Inspired Menu
This menu takes the soup-and-a-sandwich concept to a whole new level! We're pairing Chef John's version of pho, the famous spicy Vietnamese beef noodle soup, with one of the world's greatest sandwiches, bánh mì. What makes it so great? Chef John explains: "Not only do we get amazing contrasts in flavor and texture with this sandwich, but also the temperature difference between the crisp, warm, meat-filled roll, and cool, crunchy vegetables makes this so much fun to eat." Or if you prefer, we're also featuring Vietnamese fresh spring rolls in this menu. Options! For more, don't miss Chef John's Best Asian-Inspired Recipes.
Indian Inspired Menu
"I probably get more requests for Indian food than any other world cuisine," says Chef John. This feast features tandoori chicken marinated in yogurt and a complex mix of spices, and then grilled; chicken tikka masala (which Chef John points out is actually a British recipe), made with coconut milk instead of cream; homemade naan; and a very flavorful apple chutney.