I'm making dinner for 14 (!) tonight and I haven't had any time to prep. I'm still not sure on a main course. My menu is bacon wrapped dates, smoked trout mousse - for apps, for sides - potato gratin and endive salad with pear. I still need a green too if anyone has easy suggestions. And for dessert - bread pudding. If anyone could advise a low-fuss crowd pleasing entree that goes with that menu, I'd be thrilled! I have one lactose intolerant guest so if it could be dairy free, that'd be perfect. Thank you all!

  • Posted by: Dish
  • December 18, 2010


anyone December 18, 2010
I must say this one thing and it is not meant to be rude. When planning a menu, the entree is what you would usually build around. Pairing you side dishes, apps, desert, beveridges Etc. Just F.Y.I.
mrslarkin December 18, 2010
I love these ideas. I never do pork loin, since I always seem to overcook it. Pork loin is the big hunk of pork, whereas pork tenderloin are the two thinner pieces that come packaged together, right?

Another easy green would be asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper. Cooked any way. Steamed, roasted, microwaved (very easy), stir fried.
drbabs December 18, 2010
If you still want a green, you could do roast brussels sprouts or broccoli. You can cut them into small pieces, toss with olive oil and seasonings, and roast at a high heat (425 or so) for 15 minutes while the roast rests.
nutcakes December 18, 2010
More thoughts, even though you may have not made a pork roast before, it is pretty foolproof. You can get a big one at Costco or many grocers. Just have a tray pan big enough. Or cut it in half and roast in 2 pans. It will be fine. Season it some way. Even salt and pepper is fine. Let it sit an hour before going in the oven. Take an instant read thermometer so you don't overcook it and make it dried out. Don't waste the juices and pan brownings, use them or make a quick pan sauce with stock, cream, juice, mustard or any of the above.
credit the recipe to Cooking Light magazine.
nutcakes December 18, 2010
The thing about pork loin is just not to overcook it, because it is lean. I like to rub it with olive oil and herbs and perhaps garlic before, let it sit like that for as long as you can in the fridge, like overnight, or just an hour on the counter. It is essential to take the temperature to see when it is 'just done', not overdone. I like to cook it to about 147F, then let it rest 10 minutes under tented foil before slicing. The finished temp should be just above 155F.

I think it will go really well with your other dishes.

Here is a pot roasted loin dish. I think the loin gets too done for being so lean and cooked so long, but it is still a good dish. You can adapt it for oven roasting. The sauce is great. And it is a pot roasted dish so it will not matter on the temp, I just think it might be better for a fattier cut. Sorry I can't find the source of the recipe but I have made it a couple of times.

Pork Loin with Brandy and Dried Cherries

1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup brandy
2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

Combine cherries and brandy in a small bowl. Let stand 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Sprinkle pork evenly with mustard, pepper, and salt.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork; cook 8 minutes, turning pork every 2 minutes or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Add cherry mixture, broth, jelly, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Return pork to pan. Cover and bake at 325° for 1~ hour or until tender. Remove pork from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Bring broth mixture to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 3 minutes).
phyllis December 18, 2010
nutcakes suggestion is great. You could also do a filet roast or several lovely roast chickens (high heat from Thomas Keller). I've also cooked this one from Ina Garten a few times and it was quite tasty:


Have fun!!
Dish December 18, 2010
Thank you, nutcakes. I like the sound of a simple roast. Do you have thoughts on where I might find a good pork loin roast recipe? I've never roasted pork loin.
nutcakes December 18, 2010
You have a lot of variety there, and perhaps too many things already. I'm not sure you need the green. Pork loin comes immediately to mind. It is simple to roast and you can do a simple pan sauce (orange mustard?) OR a do ahead cherry-port wine type one to be passed, which will add some acidic element that may not be elsewhere in the menu.
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