Can you recommend a chicken recipe for a festive family dinner for about 20 guests, including children and the 90-year-old birthday boy?

I already have a second main dish: shrimp w/ coconut milk casserole. Chicken is the only kind of meat that everyone eats.

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35 Comments

cookbookchick May 15, 2015
Check out the recipes for Gratin de Volaille and Fondue de Volaille in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. Julia Child, of course. Both yield excellent "creamed chicken."
 
Lygia B. May 19, 2015
Good old Julia! Will look those up for sure.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Thank you all for the conversation and ideas! I am very new to this site and find this Hotline wonderful. Birthday is in November so I have the time to try some of your suggestions. My shrimp Bobo is very rich and served in a thick sauce, spicy and flavored with coconut milk, among other things. So, maybe a drier baked chicken might be a better complement.
Thanks again, everyone!
 
Pegeen May 15, 2015
Lygia, so smart to ask questions ahead of time, and to allow time to test recipes. 20 is a lot of people so it's always good to feel comfortable with your menu plan. Have fun with it!
 
Pegeen May 15, 2015
I love Chicken Marbella but wouldn't serve it with shrimp in a coconut milk sauce. Chicken Marbella is sweet-tart and vinegar-wine briny. Coconut milk has that dairy and sweetness to it. Maybe find a way to combine the shrimp and chicken instead. Roast the chicken parts with lemon, butter and chicken broth. Make double the amount of coconut sauce to spoon on the chicken as well as the shrimp. Rice to go with both.
 
cookbookchick May 15, 2015
*leafing, not leading!
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
I will have to look up Marbella!
 
cookbookchick May 15, 2015
When I am a guest, I eat what I am served. To do otherwise would be inconsiderate of my host's efforts to please. Marbella is one of the very few dishes I just do not like -- but I have made it and I did eat it. I would eat yours, too. Who knows? Maybe with your magic touch, Susan W, it would be tastier than mine was.
 
cookbookchick May 15, 2015
Utterly, completely coincidentally, after these posts, I was leading through a gently used cookbook I recently purchased - from New Zealand, not even an American publication - and found tucked inside a folded sheet of paper, browning with age. It's a handwritten recipe for (drumroll, please!) Chicken Marbella! I can't get away from it!
 
Susan W. May 15, 2015
Now..if that isn't a sign, I don't know what is. :)
 
cookbookchick May 15, 2015
Good thing I was never a guest at your Marbella-feasts, Susan W. It would spoil your untarnished record.
 
Susan W. May 15, 2015
Lol..since the original recipe in Silver Palate came out, I have thrown many a Marbella feast. It was a thing. You'd be gracious enough to tell me you didn't like it and I'd serve Greek food instead. :)
 
cookbookchick May 15, 2015
I really dislike Chicken Marbella. And those prunes! The birthday boy just might get the wrong message! I agree with sexyLAMBx and Pegeen that a nicely roasted chicken or a lemon chicken would be best. Mix up some fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh thyme or dried oregano, a bit of chopped garlic, and s&p. Slide some under the skin, put the rest over the top, and roast at 400 degrees. You can spatchcock the chickens for quicker roasting or leave them whole.
 
Susan W. May 15, 2015
I love Marbella and have never had a guest not like it old and young alike, but we all have our likes and dislikes. I call prunes dried plums. Always have.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Sounds yummy! The problem is quantity: I think I have to have enough parts so everyone can at least get one -- 20 minimum! Maybe two large roasted chickens then cut up?
 
Nancy May 14, 2015
There are 8 million stories in the naked city. Oops, wrong story. But seriously, there are about 8 million chicken recipes out there. My thoughts are similar to Pegeen's ...take your cue from birthday boy. But not only on digestibility (is there such a word?). Rather, make a chicken dish with his favorite ingredients or flavor profile. OR, if he's had that one too many times, make something new he craves to try.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
My 90-year old's favorite dish is creamed chicken, but I and the rest of the family, find it the most boring thing ever. If anyone has a way of putting some flavor into a creamed-chicken-like dish, that would be good.
 
Nancy May 15, 2015
Ok, creamed chicken can be a starting point for your thinking. Not my strong suit, but I can point you in 2 directions. 1) search sites you like for new creamed chicken recipes & cook test batches before the birthday using, for ex, green onions, parmesan, white wine.
2) serve a family favorite creamed chicken recipes with a smorebord of garnishes in hot, spicy or national flavor profiles you all like.
 
Pegeen May 14, 2015
For the simple baked chicken:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/classic_baked_chicken/

Maybe add one-half of the coconut sauce you're making for the shrimp dish, to moisten the chicken.
 
Pegeen May 15, 2015
Meaning, make one-half MORE of the coconut sauce to spoon on the chicken.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Everyone loves baked chicken, but how many birds will serve 20 people? Wonder if it is easier to cook too birds whole or cut up in pieces. Thanks for the link.
 
ChefJune May 19, 2015
Would you really want to flavor both entrees with coconut sauce? I'd want them to be different.
 
Pegeen May 14, 2015
My 92-year-old friend cannot comfortably eat seeds or pits, or anything too acidic. Ruins the dinner for him. If you can find out what he is comfortable with, that would be great.

For example, Chicken Marbella is a favorite but the pits in the olives and the amount of vinegar/wine in the dish may be an issue. The high tomato content in Chicken Cacciatore may be too acidic.
 
Susan W. May 14, 2015
I would never leave the pits in the olives or the prunes for anyone, but the vinegar is a good thought. My mom is 87 and can eat anything, but we all have cast iron stomachs.
 
Pegeen May 14, 2015
Is the shrimp dish with coconut milk rice served with rice and does it have spices? If yes I would pick a plain chicken thigh/leg dish that does not compete with the herbs from the shrimp dish, or add another starch. But something that will soak up the juices from the shrimp dish. A fairly plain baked chicken with a beautiful brown crust.
 
Pegeen May 14, 2015
Correction: you said "coconut milk" and not "coconut milk rice" and that's why I asked if the shrimp dish included rice. Thanks.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
My shrimp dish -- a Brazilian shrimp Bobo -- is spicy, with ginger root, onion, garlic, a little chili pepper or piquillo, lots of tomatoes, all thickened with small chunks of well cooked yucca root (I use peeled, frozen Goya brand, to spare the time and effort of peeling and cooking the roots). Raw shrimp cooks in this thick broth. Cilantro, fresh, finishes it up. It is served over rice. It is great for crowds as you can make it one or two days ahead and warm it up on the stove top.
 
Susan W. May 14, 2015
I love chicken Marbella from Silver Palate. It's good hot, warm, room temp. Delish!
http://www.silverpalate.com/recipe/store-favorites/chicken-marbella
 
arcane54 May 14, 2015
... and the version on Food52 is excellent, too!
 
Susan W. May 14, 2015
You know..I thought there was a version here. I remember I wanted to make it.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Thanks for one more Italian-named chicken dish! Will look up Marbella.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 14, 2015
You could try Lemon Chicken or Chicken Piccata and serve over rice, orzo or pasta.
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Thanks for the ideas! Will look up these recipes.
 
ChefJune May 14, 2015
Three really wonderful chicken dishes (I think) that are delicious and feed a crowd and can be made ahead and reheated are: Chicken Tetrazzini; Chicken Cacciatore, and Baked Chicken with dressing (the chicken parts are browned well and then buried in the dressing that is placed in the well oiled roasting pan. I bake it covered until the last 30 minutes when I brown the dressing (thing turkey stuffing...
 
Lygia B. May 15, 2015
Thanks for the ideas! I will look up these recipes. Party is in November, so have plenty of time to plan and even do trials beforehand. Chicken parts buried in dressing sounds great.
 
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