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Most impressive reliable dish

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Boyfriend's family is coming in for Thanksgiving. And though I won't be entirely responsible for the meal (I am splitting the holiday with my in-town family), I know I will want to cook for them at least one meal while they are in town during the course of the week. The pressure is on as boyfriend has told them of my love of cooking. And, in light of the holiday festivities, shopping, movies, etc., I'd like to keep it semi fuss-free.

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  1. Would you consider brunch? A quiche is easy to put together. Buy good croissants or make muffins. Fresh blueberries (yeah, I know, they'd be out of season, but I'd rationalize that someone in Peru is making a living) with lemon curd.

    Or crepes. They freeze great, so you could make ahead, layer with wax paper. Spinach crepes with creamy shrimp or scallops, curry crepes with creamy chicken and petit pois. Something fruity for finishing, like a baked apple with a side of good vanilla ice cream.

    Then off to an afternoon of shopping, movies, and your holiday festivities!

    1. If I were you, I'd be looking through my own recipe files for a tried and true fantastic recipe. (Maybe your dad's favorite dish you make?)

      Here's my recipe for one of my go-to dishes for any occasion. It never fails to impress, and it is SO easy!

      Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

      I include this divine Lyonnaise dish in a class I have taught many times featuring four (and sometimes five!) chicken dishes from different parts of France. Many of my students are put off by the title of the recipe, but when the class is over, they almost unanimously declare this dish to be their favorite!

      makes 6 servings

      3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      1 tablespoon unsalted butter
      one whole chicken (about 4 pounds) cut into 10 pieces—you could use all breasts or all leg portions if you prefer, but the meat should be on the bone)
      sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
      4 shallots, finely chopped
      1 cup top quality red wine vinegar
      1 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized)
      finely chopped fresh (flat-leaf) parsley for garnish

      1. Mix salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

      2. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a deep-sided 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. (If your pan isn’t large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer, use 2 smaller pans, and put half the chicken, oil, and butter in each one.) Rub the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper mixture. When the oil is hot but not smoking, use tongs to add the chicken, skin side down. Brown on both sides until the skin becomes beautifully golden brown, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 12 minutes on each side.

      3. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Pour off about one-half the fat in the pan. Add the shallots to the remaining oil and brown over medium high heat. Slowly add the vinegar to the skillet and boil until reduced by half. (The fumes will definitely clear your sinuses—great for a cold!!) Add the crème fraîche and cook until the mixture is well blended and has turned a nutty brown color, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan to coat thoroughly and heat briefly in the sauce.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        Hey Chef June, thanks for this great-looking recipe. Something new to do with chicken that sounds delicious.

      2. Do you want to go the comfort route.....or the knock you socks off presentation route.

        For the comfort route.:

        A Hearty Soup

        Roast Chicken....
        Meatloaf
        Pot Roast
        Roast Pork
        Poor Man's Prime Rib....Roast Top Butt Sirloin or Top Blade Roast.

        For the fancy route:

        Prime Rib
        Rack of Lamb, Pork or Veal
        Braised Short Ribs.

        Keep it simple.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fourunder

          Yup on the short ribs. You can't screw them up, and you can tailor the spices to their tastes. I would avoid poultry since Thanksgiving and its aftermath is so much turkey.

        2. it's a week that involves lots of very rich food. would you think about having them for lunch or late breakfast? or must it be dinner?

          1. I would first find out their likes and dislikes. The most impressive dish you can name isn't going to impress them if they don't eat whatever it is.

            1. A big old mess of Dungeness crab...season starts right around thanksgiving

              1 Reply
              1. re: seamunky

                lol, i would never serve this indoors! what a mess! :O

              2. Avoid chicken if they will be having a turkey dinner that week. If the parents are coming from another region, I would prepare something using ingredients for which your area is noted. E.g. - when a good friend visits the Boston area, she wants a lobster.