I am making a dinner party for 14 on Saturday night. and looking for a main that is yummy tasty and does not require much active cooking (beyond prep and finishing). Additional restrictions (as requested by some finicky folk):

- No turkey
- No pork
- No game
- No Asian
- Not spicy




jordan_kurzweil December 11, 2010
Thanks for all of your help! Almost went with the poached sole, but thought eff-it I want to make pork. Here's where I ended-up:

Cheese and meats de Murray's (http://www.murrayscheese.com/)

Roasted cauliflower soup (made it last night, it's missing a little somthin' somethin', in need of a zinger)

Catalan PORK roast with sausage, dried fruit and nut stuffing (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pork-roast-with-sausage-fruit-and-nut-stuffing)

Ligurian-style roasted black sea bass (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ligurian-style-sea-bass)

Gnocchi w/ browned butter, sage and parmesean

Brussels sprouts avec goodstuff (butter, lardon, salt, pepper, hint of maple syrup)

Riz au lait a la Chez Ami Jean

Chocolates from Jacques Torres

Guests have been instructed to bring wine and empty stomachs.
aussiefoodie December 10, 2010
Sorry - just read the no-pork :-(
aussiefoodie December 10, 2010
I heard an interesting story on NPR on Splendid Table last week, with a similar question. The host suggested a first course salad - which everyone could help prepare together - such as a nicoise salad - which you turn into a salad center piece and everyone could assemble their own plate from the salad components which are on the center of the table.

Then for the main course, it was suggested a pot roast of pork shoulder - cut into it so you spiral into the center and put garlic, olive oil, red wine, raisins, fresh herbs, lemon peel and salt and pepper and roll it back up and tie. Then put it in the oven and slow roast and baste with red wine the night before the party. Save the pan juice to make a sauce and rewarm the pork in a pan with the juices the day of the party. Serve this with shredded cabbage dressed with sherry vinegar and broccoli spears with lemon juice and butter. Plus serve with chutney and crusty bread.

Hear the story here - about minute 39.
Foodelf December 10, 2010
Make 2 of Amanda's roast-braise chicken - (God that was good!) and serve with Sage-flavored gratin dauphinois with potato, sweet potato and pink turnips here http://www.latartinegourmande.com/2010/11/19/gratin-dauphinois-sage-in-the-kitchen-with-design-sponge/ add a green salad and tarte tatin for dessert.
pauljoseph December 10, 2010
Try this Beer Can Chicken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbuHIl1YAN0
iuzzini December 9, 2010
Maybe a baked rigatoni and you can make some meatballs (maybe some w ground chicken) on the side and serve an elaborate antipasto as well (platters full of marinated artichokes, olives, roasted red peppers, cheeses w some sour cherry preserves or honey w dried apricots, (you can do some salami etc. if some folks will eat pork), and maybe some greens (brocoli rabe, sauteed spinach w lots of garlic etc.) or salads on the side. The pasta is quick to make- you can make the sauce (or use a prepared one-- we won't tell) and then compile the casseroles the morning of and set up the antipasto. Pop the casseroles in the oven for 45 minutes or so while people are mingling and enjoy!
amysarah December 9, 2010
The great thing about a braised dish for a crowd is that making large quantities is almost as easy as small; plus, it's actually better cooked ahead - the flavor improves after a night in the fridge; even better, you can often use relatively inexpensive cuts (chuck, for instance.) Two of my crowd standbys are Beef Carbonnade (classic Belgian beef stew) - cubes of beef browned/braised with tons of caramelized onions, garlic, thyme, bay, a bit of dijon, etc....its distinctive flavor comes from the dark beer used for braising liquid - I usually use Guinness, but you could splurge on a Belgian one too. (Mark Bittman's recipe is delish and easy.) I usually add some carrot chunks to cook in the braising liquid, serve it over noodles...so good! My other go-to braise for a crowd is Stracotto - Italian pot roast - braised with red wine, garlic, rosemary, tomatoes, sometimes porcini, etc....perfect served over simple polenta. I think both of these would fit your guests' list of verboten food/flavors.
allie December 9, 2010
Given all the demands, I would make a nice big piece of salmon (perhaps the leek one that Jenny featured this week in her column or just a very basic roasted salmon fillet with salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil) and make some interesting sides.
pierino December 9, 2010
This sounds very much like a recent New Yorker cartoon. I have to admit I like innoabrd's approach. This might require two large slow cookers but it will work as long as beef or lamb can stay on the menu: beef chuck stew meat OR short ribs OR lamb, orange peel, peeled shallots or chopped sweet onion, red wine, cured black olives (pitted for the weenies), branches of fresh thyme, salt and pepper. The meat needs to be browned first of course. It's a braise. Assemble, cook all day and then just walk away.
Kayb December 9, 2010
I did bouef bourguignon for 12 a while back -- actually made it a day ahead, refrigerated, and then brought it out and reheated. Then all you need is a starch (I did a potato gratin, also mostly completed the night before); a green veg (I did green beans provencale, beans par-boiled the evening before), and a salad and dessert. It was relatively easy, as most of the prep and active work was done in advance.
VanessaS December 9, 2010
I've made this recipe for big crowds - I make it the day before or morning of and heat up before dinner. You could serve it with some polenta. Plus, chicken is a safe bet when there are a lot of people coming over.
innoabrd December 9, 2010
Sheesh. If I got folks starting to make that many demands, I'd be tempted to hand them a take out menu and tell them to feel free to order their own dinner!
Soozll December 9, 2010
This is an excellent party dish and it's made ahead, so nothing to do but bake and serve. Makes plenty, too.
drbabs December 9, 2010
This is a wonderful, versatile recipe that I make frequently both for at home and for company. http://www.food52.com/recipes/3281_poached_sole_with_blood_orange_beurre_blanc

For company you might want to get a firmer white fish than sole; mine always falls apart when i serve it. You can leave out the peppercorns and adjust the seasoning to your taste. It's really good and really pretty.
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