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I want to impress - any nice recipes for a main?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by jessbgirl, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. jessbgirl

    jessbgirl New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    was just wondering if any of you had a nice recipe that could impress my guests. Me and my partner are soon hosting a dinner party (quite formal). There will be 6 people + us two. I have ideas for a starter and a stress-free nice pudding but am completely stuck for the main. I don't want anything too adventurous or complicated and ideally, I would like to be a good host and not spend most of my time in the kitchen on that night. Just to give you an idea, there will be a pregnant woman and a couple of retired people (me and my partner are in our late 20s).
    Any ideas would be much appreciated!
  2. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    What starter/ What dessert?
    Price range?
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'm not usually one for fancy presentation, but I've cooked this a few times for dinner parties and it's always gone down extremely well. Most of it can be prepared in advance.
    Lemon and herb stuffed chicken supremes with a morel and madeira sauce and creamed parsnips
    Order 6 chicken supremes form your butcher. They're a boned breast, with the fillet still attached and the wing bones still attached as well. They should still have the skins attached.
    Make a stuffing by mixing:
    300g Mascarpone cheese
    1 clove garlic, minced
    a small bunch each of tarragon and parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped plus a few chives, snipped finely
    zest of one lemon and half its juice
    salt and pepper

    Gently prise the skin away from each breast by pushing your finger between the skin and the flesh at one edge of the skin only, and making a hollow by wiggling your finger around - this hollow will take the stuffing. Make sure that there are no other holes, or the stuffing will slife through - the skin should still be attached everywhere else. Push 1/6 of the stuffing gently into the hole and "massage" around so it fills the hollow. This is fiddly but it's easily done with a piping bag, or with a teaspoon if you're not confident with a piping bag. Fold the open piece of skin back over to "seal" the stuffing in place. Repeat with other chicken breasts and then place in a plate in the fridge to firm upfor at least an hour. This can all be done in advance, and so will sit happily in the fridge for 4-5 hours, covered.
    When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C. Heat a small glug of olive oil in a large pan that will take all of the chicken pieces or do this in batches. Season the chicken pieces and brown them, skin side down until lightly browned. Then turn and quickly brown the other sides. If this is done quickly and carefully, then you shouldn't lose too much stuffing.
    Then, place on a trivet or rack, skin side up in a roasting tin and roast for 25-30 minutes. Allow to rest in a warm place before serving.
    Handful of dried mushrooms, preferable morels but if not affordable then use porcini
    250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced thinly
    25g butter + 25g cold butter, in cubes
    250ml beef stock
    150ml Madeira (or port, Marsala or even a medium white wine)
    The sauce can be made in adance by soaking a small handful of whatever dried mushrooms you can afford (although morels are best!), in warm water, then straining, reserving the soaking liquid. Make sure that morels are well rinsed as they will still be gritty inside. Melt the 25g butter in a frying pan and soften the soaked mushrooms. Add the chestnut mushrooms and season, cook over a high heat until just soft. Add booze and reduce by half. Add stock and mushroom liquid and boil hard, thickening slightly. At this point, it can be left for a while, so it can be prepared in advance. When ready to eat, head and then add cold cubes of butter and whisk until emulsified.
    I like to serve by spooning most of sauce and mushrooms onto hot plates, then place large dollops of pureed parsnips (done in the food processor with lots of butter and milk and a grating of nutmeg) on top, then slicing the chicken into thick slices and arranging fancily over the top, with remaining sauce spooned over the top.
    Most can be prepared in advance. The chicken can be browned and put into oven whilst starters are being dished and served and the sauce can be mostly made in advance. The puree can be made in advance, just heating through before eating. The only last minute things are resting and slicing the chicken, finishing the sauce and plating up.
    You can do side veg if you feel it needs it, obviously. Buttered peas or spinach might be a good choice.
    It's really good!
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Gah! Just spotted your party is for 6 + 2, which quite clearly equals 8!
    The above quanities are for 6 (well roughly speaking, I more-or-less guessed them!). Obviously you'll need 8 supremes plus more of everything else. It doesn't matter if you make too much stuffing or sauce, anyway, so you could double and it won't matter. Unused stuffing would be good stirred through cooked pasta and the sauce could go with a steak sometime!
  5. I could give you my tried and tested (in a professional kitchen!) recipe for beef involtinies stuffed with Schwarzfelder ham (you can use parma) and ceps, with a red wine and cassis reduction and rosemary pototoes, if you like (tis for 4, so you would just need to double).
    It really is easy! You can prepare most of it in advance and the oven does the rest. And it looks fab on the plate (plus is yummy).
    Let me know - as I would need to translate it first!
  6. In fact, it was a 4 course meal - see my thread.
    You can have all 4 recipes if you like. None of them are difficult.
    This would be:
    Starter - roast duck breasts on red lentil salad
    Soup - creamed rocket soup
    Main - the involtinies
    Dessert - lemon cream with fresh fig compot.
  7. P.S. You can prepare nearly all of it in advance!
  8. landaise

    landaise Occasional commenter

    Why not make something like a boeuf bourgignon, a carbonnade or a coq au vin, they can be prepared in advance and simply re-heated ( for the first two, the flavour improves if you do this ! )
    Serve with pommes noisettes, easily baked during the evening.
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Or an Osso Bucco - knockout dish that's impressive, can be done in advance and highly presentable. Can be pricey and difficult to source though. A good butcher should be able to get it at shortish notice though.
    Traditionally served with risotto milanese, but if that's a tall order to prepare for 8 at the last minute then anything potatoey would be fine, such as a gratin.
  10. i was thinking about osso bucco but discounted on the grounds that it is difficult to get hold of. I agree with landaise - there is nothing to beat a really good bouguignon or coq au vin. Can be made the day before (better made the day before) so if your starter and pudding are also made in advance - a good stress-free dinner party. What fun........ I haven't had a dinner party for ages; we tend to do sunday lunches instead - much easier with if children are involved.
  11. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    I agree that a coq au vin .etc. is the good way to go for a dinner party - go for as less stress as possible! If you want something a bit more adventurous, then tell us what the starter and pud are going to be so we can advise...it is what we love to do on Cookery!
  12. Tartuffe

    Tartuffe Occasional commenter

    A couscous is always a good choice as most of it is prepared well ahead of time.
    We do a huge stockpot of vegetable stew - not too much spice. We then have a pot of lamb stew and separete small bowls of chickpeas, raisins soaked in stock and a bowl of harrisa which can be added by those who like it hot. If a large number of guests we add some grilled merguez and maybe add some chicken.
    The couscous grains cook ina few minutes just before serving.
    As everyone helps themselves it creates a nice atmosphere
  13. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I was drooling already...and then you mentioned merguez and it was game over entirely...
    Wow. That sounds AMAZING.
    Where can you get real merguez in the UK, incidentally?

  14. Tartuffe

    Tartuffe Occasional commenter

    We managed to get some at Waitrose. BUT both Tescos and Sainsbury's have had a spicy chipolata type which was OK.
    I have made them with good quality sausagemeat from our butcher + spices + skins. Don't have a proper machine so used a plastic icing set - the sort with a plastic tube rather than a bag and maged to squeeze it out - not v neat but taste OK.
  15. landaise

    landaise Occasional commenter

    Merguez are made from beef and mutton/lamb, not pork !
    My MIL would go dotty at the thought of pork merguez (she's Moroccan ! )

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