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Fall inspired chicken dish for a crowd??

Need to make an entree for 40+ people with the following criteria.

-It's a "Harvest Potluck" not a sit down meal so ease in eating a plus but not mandatory.
-Must be chicken, no exceptions. Any part is fine-thighs, breast etc but bone in might be messier to eat.
-Looking for fall inspired as that is theme of the potluck. The other items that are being are served are things like butternut squash risotto, roasted root veggies, salad with cranberries/walnuts, etc
-Made in advance a plus. Not necessarily a day or two in advance but the morning of would be ideal. Maybe something that can be assembled in the am and then popped in the oven.

When the guest list was under 20 we thought stuffed breasts but now that it's over 40 that is way too much work!

TIA!!

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  1. A friend of mine often makes thighs in the oven with olive oil and lemon and oregano. If you use BL/SL thighs you could fit quite a bit on a baking sheet or roasting pan.

    They also should not be that difficult to eat (maybe cut in bite-size pieces). I suppose adding some capers to that mix could be nice, too....or garlic.

    5 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Oops. I forgot about the "fall-inspired" part. This has decidedly summery flavors. My bad.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          True dat -- and who's to say you can't use lemon or lemon zest in the fall :-)

          Rosemary might work, too, or marjoram (close to oregano).

          1. re: linguafood

            The zest instead of juice would be a great way to go, good thinkin'. With some baby creamy potatoes cooked with it....

            1. re: linguafood

              agreed, doesn't sound too summery to me. Simple and yummy

      1. On the healthy delicious site there is an apple cider braised thighs recipe that is magnificent, easy and best made the day before. Could be made with smaller pieces of boneless thighs.

        3 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom

          Yep, I was going to recommend something involving apples.

            1. re: magiesmom

              Love this! I'll make it just for us!

            2. Chicken Marbella, which is ideal for skin-on thighs. The rest of your menu does not seem friendly to eating while standing.
              I think bone-in is easier to eat standing up than the rest of the menu, none of which is finger food. CM can be marinated for a day or more beforehand, then baked on sheet pans the day of. It is great hot or room temp. I like to add onion to the marinade but also, I make a point of pushing the solids off the chicken and into the pan liquid before baking, so nothing scorches. Though I have a sweet tooth, I use less than half the brown sugar called for in the Silver Palate recipe, which is readily found online. Don't crowd the pan, so the skin browns evenly and the sauce (which is outstanding) reduces sufficiently.

              7 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                I find Marbella , which I like if the sugar is cut by half, but it feels really wintery to me. For fall I prefer apples or pears with chicken.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Menu out of my control, sorry. Also in no way was asking for nor expecting finger food. It's a dinner party.

                  The party is not sit down in the sense of everyone sitting down at one table at the same time but no one will have to stand to eat unless they choose. But some of the seating could be awkward, ie while sitting on a couch.

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    I think the rest of the menu sounds quite conducive to eating standing up. If the vegetables and the meat are cut up prior to serving, only a fork will be necessary.

                  2. re: greygarious

                    Updated Chicken Marbella.

                    I know the recipe gets hated on by some but I like it and so does virtually everyone to whom I've served it. Over the years, I'm made many of the modifications that CI suggests in its updated version:

                    http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recip...

                    1. re: tcamp

                      When I click on that link it takes me to the mobile site, not the recipe. I'll take a look when get home and use my lap top. Thanks!

                      1. re: tcamp

                        I have not made their version but saw that ATK episode several times and think it is one of their very worst recipe re-do attempts. There is no reason for turning the marinade into a paste that is then put atop the browned chicken skin, which means that skin will be flabby when finished.

                        From the second time I made CM, I have slowely browned the thighs, skin side down only, on the stovetop until well-rendered before flipping them over and putting them into the baking dish. Though I've mentioned this on other threads, I omitted it here since it adds work when making a lot of chicken.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Interesting. I confess I'm a terrible recipe follower but this updated version works for me w/o the flabby skin problem you describe. I do put a fairly small amount of the paste back on top of the chicken, preferring to stir in into the sauce in the pan. Also, I keep the liquid amounts scant.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        Thanks JJ, they all sound great. The first two might be too much as they are both stove top but the last one sounds intriguing with the maple and rosemary and can be done in the oven. It could also be a nice foil for the risotto.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Yeah the third one is very easy, I've made a variation of it before. It's very forgiving too, which is important with 40 servings... that way if it slightly overcooks it'll still be tasty.

                      2. I would take the meat off the bone and serve cubed or shredded chicken. Your guests will appreciate it. Personnaly i would make a dinner that does not require a knife. How about chicken thighs braised with apple cider and calvados, you could add onions and cabbage and or mushrooms. I have made a dish similar for 100 and it was a huge success.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gloriaa

                          Did you shred or cube the thighs in that recipe for a 100 people? Seems odd and a lot of extra work! I think it would be more appetizing and easier keeping them whole.

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            I smoked chicken breasts(in my smoker)removed the meat and shredded( I certainly didn't shred into tiny pieces) in long wide strips and used the bones to make stock then sauce. Of course chicken on the bone is nicer, or in one piece, but if you have to eat on a couch, standing up I think it much nicer to eat with just a fork. I served it with chive and mustard spaetzle. It is delicious and my most requested meal, I have been catering for years. I wish I didn't have to make it as often as requested.