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I need a kick-ass potluck dish

90% of our office is traveling to a conference next week and I wanted to prepare lunch for the five of us who have to remain behind. They suggested a potluck so while they will be covering the salads, sides, and dessert, I want to offer up a really nice "thank-you" entree.

Limitations are the usual ones for potlucks; microwave is available, but no oven or stove. I do, however, own a small hotplate and for past potlucks, I've brought pots of soup which were well-received, but it is now summer and that isn't substantial enough.

I'm pondering Coq au Vin because that is stew-like, but it still seems too heavy for summer. Everyone seems to like chicken, but I am open.

Suggestions for a hearty main-course?

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    1. Last summer, I made a green chile (Hatch) pork stew that was well received. It can be as simple or as intricate as you wish. I didn't use any cumin or oregano like the recipes I'm pulling up via Google. It was basically browned pork butt, minced onion, garlic (I think), roasted and peeled chiles, diced potato, and chicken stock. It looked like hell, but it tasted really good.

      1. Chicken salad on croissants seem to go fast at parties/get-togethers, but you might be looking for something more robust. Maybe a baked potato bar...have baked potatoes and a choice of toppings so everyone can pick what they like?

        1 Reply
        1. Would you have a slow cooker available to you? If so, what about a pulled pork that you can either serve on it's own or with sandwich buns? I can give a good recipe if you want it. Several, actually.

          1. Since you mention chicken, you can also do a pulled chicken in the slow cooker, too. I've made this recipe before and it turns out great. I used thighs and breasts in mine.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Leepa

              I don't own a slow cooker -- but that doesn't mean I couldn't make something the day before and re-heat it in a clay pot on a hot plate. The pulled pork might be a good idea...

              The chicken marbella looks interesting and I'm surprised I've never heard of it.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Chicken Marbella is a great summer dish.A little sweet a little salty,with a bit of a sour note.
                it would be great with a side salad,just make sure you use both white and dark meat and leave the bones in.2 whole chickens should do the trick,with some leftovers.

            2. This recipe for Emeril's Muffuletta Sandwich was a big hit last time I made it for an office lunch. And, it's a total do-ahead thing. No cooking involved…


              1 Reply
              1. re: skippy66

                I want to do something hot and more than just a sandwich or dressed pasta.

                But thanks for reminding me that I love making muffeletta's for outdoor, evening performance events and I'm going to see some Shakespeare next Friday night!

              2. Coq au vin would be perfect. IF yu are worried about it being too wintery a dish, serve with a salad of Frisee, Blasamic Vinegrette and Shaved parmesan.
                Cold, fresh fruit to end.

                1. Chicken Okra Gumbo? Rich, hearty, not difficult and reheats like a dream, though ideally, you'd have a rice cooker and steam the rice up fresh. I've got a really great totally inauthentic recipe I've developed, if you're interested. :P

                  1. Since chicken sounds appealing, how about a braise of chicken with mushrooms, root veg and leeks in a mustard and white wine sauce?
                    You mention a clay pot, if it is a Romertopf, the recipe book for that pot has a great versatile preparation I have made countless times. Works fine in a Le Cruset as well. You can vary the herbs or the veg to vary the flavor profile. Serve with rice or bread and a salad.

                    1. Ooh, or chicken adobo, one of my favorite things on the planet, though it's soooo bad for me. That needs jasmine rice as well, though, at least the way I eat it.

                      1. Since it's summer and you want to keep it light, what about a platter of beef carpaccio and/or grilled shrimp? Since you say that your co-workers are bringing salads and sides, it sounds like you need a main protein more than a complete main dish. Carpaccio is very impressive and feels luxurious and special, but really it couldn't be easier to prepare.

                        ETA: Missed where you said you were looking to do something hot. Braised short ribs are always impressive and are really better reheated - make them at home the day before and then reheat in a crockpot at the office.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Ahhh.... Braised short ribs! Now I like that idea!

                          (And while I'm totally for carpaccio, I know at least two of the four people I am feeding would never consume raw meat - silly fools that they are!)

                          1. re: CarrieWas218

                            Fools indeed! Short ribs are probably a better bet in that case. You can go in so many different directions with flavor with short ribs, too. I am a big fan of this recipe (I use a blend of chiles to give it more kick): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                        2. How about Pozole Rojo? I actually enjoy eating it in the summertime because of all the fresh garnishes. It's also a dish that tastes better reheated the next day.

                          1. How about a lobster corn chowder or a seafood gumbo? That is if no has a shellfish allergy. I have a great recipe for a bacon, corn and red potato chowder that is well liked.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: vafarmwife

                              Nope - definite shellfish allergies in my office....


                              1. re: vafarmwife

                                Can you post the recipe for the corn chowder? Sounds great!

                              2. I'd consider a big quiche or a frittata/Spanish omelet kind of thing. Good at room temp, or gently reheated.