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Dinner Party for 40--what to make?????

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I'm a pretty competent cook. I've cooked for 200 before--with help. I'm doing this one basically on my own. I've cooked for 20-30 on my own before, but this is going to be in someone else's kitchen.

I was thinking chicken cacciatore and polenta. Did I mention I'm going to have fun too? Anyway, I'm thinking cacciatore since I can prep it in the morning, and bring it to braise. I was planning on using thighs to make it forgiving. I might even use boneless, skinless thighs to make it even easier.

What would you do?

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  1. Well, I don't like chicken cacciatore much. So take this with a grain of salt....
    When I cook for more than 10 people, I take into account different preferences and provide one red meat dish, one chicken/ seafood/pasta dish and enough of veg sides to satisfy vegetarians or calorie restricted folks. What about adding a roast to your menu and decreasing the amount of cacciatore? Then add at least 2 veg (skip the polenta) and some bread/cheese combo's. Still easy -and that menu would meet everyone's needs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sedimental

      Sounds like a good idea. I'm cooking this all by myself and there might be up to 50 people. I know I can do a nice braised chicken, like cacciatore and make it very easily. I don't want to have to carve, etc.

      I'd do coq au vin but it adds complications that I don't feel like fussing with.

    2. I think you should look at Silver Palate's recipe for Chicken Marbella. It works for a crowd, can be prepped or made ahead, (and reheated), and people love it! I also second a non meat option.

      1 Reply
      1. re: halimundy

        Just looked at the Marbella recipe and it looks pretty good. I'm considering it, although it might be a little more difficult than doing a braised dish. Thanks for the tip, I'm definitely going to make it sometime soon...

      2. there's a great deal to be said for confidence when cooking for a group. this, alone, might tilt the choice toward braised chicken.

        i have a friend who has the knack of enjoying herself when cooking for a crowd. i've noticed that she emphasizes well-constructed one pot meals, good bread, a simple salad and plenty of wine. a main course might be a kind of white bean stew--a cassoulet of limited scope-- or an elegant beef/wine/vegetable pot.