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Make ahead meal for New Year's buffet

I'm having 20-ish people over for New Year's and I'd like to set out a substantial buffet, dinner not just nibbles. What can anyone recommend for make-ahead dishes that can sit out on a buffet for a couple of hours? I could go the homey baked pasta route but i'm hoping for something a little more elegant - a meat or fish dish recommendation would be great!

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  1. poached salmon is always nice and can sit out for a while

    1. Martha Sterwart's "Entertaining" cookbook has a great recipe for stuffed chicken breasts (a spinach cheese mixture) that I have been making for big buffets for years. It can be made the day before if need be, and they can sit happily at room temp for hours. The book has a very helpful picture.

      1. Charcautie garnie is a popular New Years dish that is easy and bulletproof for buffets.

        I know sauerkraut is not popular with many people, but I have a authentic Alsatian family recipe that will convert anyone.

        1 Reply
        1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
          I posted this before, and it was moved to Home Cooking by the moderators, and I was warned not to do it again.

          1. okay, now i'm complicating things but it would be great if there was something that was sort of a fork, no knife dish. people won't necessarily be sitting so the whole fork/knife thing is tricky.

            1. My family loves chicken tetrazini. It's a good buffet, no knife dish.

              1. Beef Stroganoff is a good no knife dish, and frankly, I've never had a problem with it sitting out - it seems to retain heat fairly well if you've got it in a warmed dish.

                I've also done crab cakes before, topped with a little red pepper aioli. Those always go over pretty well and are good at room temperature.

                1. This was my do-ahead menu for a NYE party a couple of years ago. It worked out great.

                  Cheese plate
                  Foie gras pate with fig jam and crostini
                  Truffled wild mushroom phyllo cups
                  Gorgonzola and pistachio arancini(I used leftover risotto for these, fried them ahead, and re-heated them in the oven)
                  Tabbouleh with pomegranate seeds, served with pita crisps

                  Main course all done ahead of time and set up on pretty platters, and no knives necessary!:

                  Herb and garlic crusted beef tenderloin. I bought an excellent quality whole filet at Costco, roasted this ahead of time, sliced, and then served it on a big platter lined with watercress. Served with a basket of sliced baguettes, and two sauces - horseradish cream sauce and cranberry/black pepper chutney.

                  Cured salmon with vodka and citrus (bought a nice side of salmon and made gravlax - I think I used an Emeril recipe) on a chilled platter with dishes of garnishes and sides - creme fraiche, chives, capers, and salmon roe. Served with toasted dark and white bread squares.

                  Roasted asparagus with lemon zest and olive oil

                  Wild rice salad with pecans, apricots and dried cranberries

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    oh my god, that all sounds delicious! can you point me to your favorite recipe for the garlic crusted beef tenderloin? and the arancini?

                    1. re: rleibson

                      The beef tenderloin is easy. The recipe is from Epicurious, as is the horseradish cream sauce. For the cranberry chutney, I made a typical fresh cranberry sauce (you can use the classic recipe from the back of the bag), but added some minced rosemary, port wine, and cracked black pepper.

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      The arancini, well, I used a not so easy risotto recipe ;). I made Joe H's Toasted Pistachio and Gorgonzola Dolce Risotto (link below) - which was as fantastic as the thread mentions - and had leftovers. Rolled them into a ball, coated them in dried bread crumbs, and fried in oil. They were so rich, I didn't have to add any egg yolk. Of course, any good risotto recipe would work here.

                      Joe H's 'famous' risotto recipe:

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28891...

                  2. I'm planning a similar New Years Day buffet, and I am planning a roasted and thinly sliced beef tenderloin and a spiral cut ham. I'll have sauces and condiments, and split biscuits for the ham and small rolls for the beef so people can make sandwiches. Rounding it out will be various salads and so on, and something like scalloped potatoes or mac and cheese.

                    One thing that is very handy for these events is an electric warming tray. These are terrific for keeping casseroles like scalloped potatoes warm.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sheiladeedee

                      Also, when making scalloped potatoes for an event like this rather than family dinner, I use a mandoline to slice the potatoes, and use round casseroles so I can spiral the best slices neatly. Brushed with butter, they brown up nicely and the dish looks much dressier.

                    2. Lettuce wraps, best bet chicken.

                      1. okay, one more question for the group.

                        what does everyone think of duck breast with a port sauce? i've never made duck and i know it doesn't fit the criterion of fork-only food but it seem so nice and festive. is it hard? will it be gross if it sits out and becomes room temperature? thoughts?