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What's your go-to, tried-and true, entertaining meal

I'm planning a small dinner party of 7 people. My usual go-to meals in the winter are lasagna or beef bourguignon for two reasons: I've never met anyone who doesn't like either dish and I also can make them a day ahead and then not have to spend much time in the kitchen when my guests arrive. I'd love to hear what dishes others instinctively go to...

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  1. I like stuffing salmon or chicken with crab and wrapping it in phyllo dough and baking it in the oven...it's great because you can stuff the salmon or chicken a day ahead of time. then an hour or so before you can wrap them in phyllo and put them in the oven while you work on other last minute stuff...

    1. Coq au vin
      Choucroute garnie (sauerkraut and pork)
      beef Wellington
      chicken paprikash
      Osso bucco

      1. For a very simple meal, I cook pork tenderlin wrapped in pancetta cooked over apple slices drizzled with a little maple syrup. I can make it up ahead of time and put it in a pyrex dish and stick it in the fridge and then just poke it in the oven when our guests arrive. I usually serve that with a mix of sweet and white mashed potatoes and some kind of green vegetable and homemade rolls. Almost everything can be done ahead, and everyone likes it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Andiereid

          Along the same lines I love this Delia Smith recipe and make it regularly. The only trick is to not overcook the porkloin. Follow the cooking times loosely and adjust based on the size of your pork loin. Serve with mash and green beans. Yum.

          Fast Roast Pork with Rosemary and Caramelised Apples

          http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/fa...

        2. Alton Brown's Chicken with Garlic and Shallots! All you need to do ahead of time is brown the chicken. Then you just put garlic, shallots, herbs and olive oil into the pot and stick it in the oven. And if you use chicken thighs, you don't even have to keep such a close eye on the timing since they're very forgiving. Mmmm....really good.

          1. Choucroute for me too. Sometimes instead of the kraut I braise red cabbage in red wine and make spatzle to go along with the assorted meats.

            This time of year it is hard to go wrong with roast beef with spoon bread. The rest of the sides vary with mood.

            Enchiladas are always good too. Oh and a big pot of posole with all of the different trimings so people can dress it up or down as they wish. It is a really good wintertime stew and makes the house smell so good when it is cooking.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Candy

              You should invite Jim Leff over for the spoon bread, since he was so disappointed with the spoon bread festival in Kentucky.

              1. re: kittyfood

                I think we're too far west for Jim.