quatre épices

Pronunciation: [KAH-tr ay-PEES]

A French phrase meaning "four spices," referring to any of several finely ground spice mixtures. Though there's no standard mixture for quatre épices, the blend is usually mixed from the following selection: pepper (usually white), nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon or cloves. Quatre épices is used to flavor soups, stews and vegetables. See also spices.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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