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Christmas Eve menu-my first time hosting!

I know most people are in thanksgiving mode right now, but we are all set for that menu and I'm already excitedly planning for Christmas Eve. :)

This will be my first xmas as a married woman, and because we are going to another home on Christmas day, I'll be hosting a Christmas Eve dinner for my parents and two grandmothers.

I'd like to make something that I know they will all love, so I'm thinking individual Shepherd's Pies (Alton Brown's recipe) for the main course with a light green salad, and for dessert a raspberry white chocolate almond trifle.

Should I open with a soup? I was considering lobster bisque or an easier celery root bisque (maybe with sauteed lobster on top?)

Also- the Alton Brown shepherd's pie recipe calls for ground lamb. Does anyone think I should use chunks of lamb shank instead?

I don't think I'll do more than 3 courses, because it will be very filling as it is. Maybe I can bake some bread and make an herb butter for the table...

I welcome any input fellow chowhounders have to share!

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  1. My go-to Christmas Eve meal is clam chowder, individual fresh dungeness crab louies, sourdough bread (toasted with cheese or just fresh pull apart with butter), wine of course. Dessert or a cheese plate with fruit, followed by an Irish coffee or port.

    1. Assuming everyone likes lamb (my mother and sister hate it) I think the lamb shank meat would be preferable. The only thing I see missing from your menu is crunch, all the dishes are "soft.".

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Depending on people preferences, it might be better to go for a lighter soup. It still can be a vegetable puree with with less cream. Something like a carrot ginger soup or a pureed cauliflower soup. Because the shepherd's pies will be rich you don't want a heavy soup.

        1. re: Dcfoodblog

          I'm probably not doing a soup anymore, but I love carrot ginger soup and make it every fall. :)

      2. Lobster and lamb sound like competition to me. I'd go for your celery root soup with some croutons or roasted veggies as a garnish. And confirm that everyone eats lamb. It's a serious aversion for some folks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: katecm

          We always have a fondue on Christmas Eve...beef, shrimp & chicken - start with ceasar salad. I make 2 or 3 sauces & add some kind of mini-potato...and because we have a lot of desserts for Christmas dinner - I serve cookies ( many kinds) with coffee & a few selections of liquoir.

        2. I don't think chunks of lamb will work well, both in cooking and texture. Sheps pie should consist of a ground meat. As for soup, a non meat sounds good. Enjoy, you'll do well and have fun.

          1. You have a great opportunity to start a new family Xmas Eve tradition, as this is your first one with your "new" family.

            On the lamb question about chunks of meat. Absolutely not!. Shepherd's pie is made with minced lamb. Always. If you make it with chunks, it ain't shepherd's pie any more. It may be absolutely delicious and become your new family tradition, though.

            The celeriac soup (or celery root, as you call it) will be excellent as a starter. This is a good recipe and the little drizzle of pesto is a great touch. http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes...