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Dec 7, 2011 01:43 PM

Need a classic dinner party dish

I throw a dinner for 6 every Christmas. The last few years, I've gone classic and it has been great. I did the full blown Julia Child Beef Bourguignon (with her Caesar and her Chocolate Mousse), I did an amazing Lamb Shank I do over Polenta; last year I did Coq Au Vin... I could repeat or do one of my standards but was wondering if anyone had any ideas of something appropriate I could do. Just need some ideas, I am running dry as of late!

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  1. what kind of protein are you thinking?
    Do you serve family style, buffet or individually plated?

    How about something duck? Confit+seared breasts or a la orange
    A fish dish? Whole fish baked in a salt crust? en croute?
    Beef Wellington
    Sole meuniere
    standing rib roast
    game hens

    1. Do you already have starters/sides in mind or will you build those around the main once you've decided?

      Some ideas;
      Moroccan lamb tagine
      roasted salmon
      braised short ribs with polenta or mashed potatoes
      rack of lamb
      pork tenderloin in mustard cream sauce

      4 Replies
        1. re: perk

          I am a huge fan of Suzanne Goin's Short Ribs from her Lucques Sunday Supper cookbook - oh my! :) But am open to other recipes! A friend tells me the recipe from the Balthazar cookbook is also excellent.

          1. re: Tom P

            I do a port, wine and honey short rib. It's delicious. I think the recipe is on egullet by a poster named Marlene. It is the best short rib recipe I've tried.

          2. re: perk

            Seconded on the short ribs. What about a nice risotto with the short ribs?

        2. Classic Xmas to me is standing prime rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, potato gratin with Gruyere cheese, creamed spinach, trifle with pound cake, cognac cream and raspberries. You can augment with salad, apps, if you like. Nothing screams holiday luxury like a prime rib roast. For 6 people, I would suggest a 3 rib roast from the "small" loin end of the rib. You can do it very simply or with a salt crust, or horseradish sauce, etc. Let me know if interested in recipes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            Diane, I am certianly interested in all of your recipes for the menu you suggested. Sounds absolutely mouth watering!

            1. re: Wtg2Retire

              Prime Rib Roast - the most important item to get right is the right piece of meat. Talk to your meat market and order a 3 rib roast from the small end - ie the loin end of the roast. Have them remove the chine bone and re-tie for easier carving. Make a dry rub using kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, crushed rosemary, lots of garlic and some paprika (preferably Hungarian - hot or mild to your taste). Rub roast well with dry rub, let sit overnight in fridge. Remove 2 hours before roasting, bring to room temp. Preheat oven to 450 F. Grease a low ridged roasting pan, place roast on rack, slice a couple onions horizontally and attach to eye of meat with wooden toothpicks. Roast at 450 for 20-30 min, lower heat to 375 F, roast 15-20 min/lb. to interior temp of 120 for med rare. Loosely tent with foil and let rest 15-20 min before carving.

              While roast is resting, bake Yorkshire puddings -
              Yorkshire Pudding - Ingredients
              1 teaspoon kosher salt
              1 cup all-purpose flour
              1 1/4 cups milk
              3 eggs, beaten
              2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
              1/4 cup reserved pan fat from Roast Beef or use olive oil or melted unsalted butter
              Sift the salt and the flour into a large bowl. Add half the milk and all the eggs into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, and then the thyme. Cover; let batter sit at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes, ideally 45 minutes.

              Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Divide the rendered beef fat or oil, 1/4 cup total, between a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin or 12-hole Yorkshire pudding tray. Heat in oven until the fat is almost smoking hot. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any fat drippings - this will help prevent any oven fires!

              Uncover batter and whisk one more time. Pour batter into each cup, about 3/4 full and immediately place back into the oven. The batter will sizzle when being poured into the hot fat. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown in color. Turn oven off and leave puddings in the oven for just 5 more minutes to help set. Remove puddings and serve while hot and puffed.

              Potato Gratin - tip, make ahead, you can reheat while Yorkshire pudding bakes

              1 1/2 cups heavy cream
              1 sprig fresh thyme
              2 garlic cloves, chopped
              1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
              2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
              Salt and freshly ground black pepper
              1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling

              Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

              In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.

              While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.

          2. Great ideas so far, everyone thanks! I was avoiding Rib Roast (perfect choice) as we do a big beef roast on Christmas Day itself. This is a sit down dinner I serve myself. (Christmas is more buffet at 16 people)

            Funny, we've been doing this dinner almost ten years now and I've tried a lot of these. So far I am thinking Cassoulet, which I love. But I've never tried Beef Wellington. These guys are not fish guys or I'd go for the Bouillabaise!

            And yes, I will build around the main dish.