Easy Holiday Dinner Party

couple 250

The holidays are the busiest time of the year – between shopping, decorating, baking and getting gifts for everyone on your list, sometimes it’s difficult to plan a holiday party.

We have a few recipes from “Cook Up a Feast” which are perfect for a complete dinner party, or they can be separated and added to your holiday feast! Each of the items can be prepared in advance, which makes these recipes perfect for a stress-free holiday!

 

Appetizer

These are so popular whenever we serve them. Boursin cheese comes in foil packs and is flavored either with pepper or garlic — we use the pepper version (Boursin Poivre) for this recipe.
 

Crostini with Parma ham and peppered cream cheese

Makes 30

For the onion marmalade

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 soft bread dough (see below) or thin white baguette
a little olive oil
½ x 5.2oz (150g) packet Boursin Poivre
6 slices Parma ham

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (140˚C). Meanwhile, make the onion marmalade. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, and fry over high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly colored. Cover with a lid and cook slowly for 20 minutes or until soft. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir over high heat for a few minutes until combined and glossy. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside to cool.

2. Cut the bread into 30 slices. Brush each side with a little olive oil, then arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 30–45 minutes or until crisp. Leave to cool.

3 To serve, spread a little Boursin on top of each of the crostini. Snip each slice of Parma ham into 5 pieces and arrange on top of the Boursin. Top with a little marmalade, arrange on a platter, and serve.

Cheat – If you are short on time, use onion marmalade from a jar. Soft bread dough is available from supermarkets. It is half cooked and very thin—perfect for making crostini. Use a thin white baguette if you can’t find it.

Prepare ahead and freeze – The marmalade and crostini can be made up to 1 week ahead. The topping can be added to the crostini up to 6 hours ahead. Freeze the crostini without the topping for up to 4 months.

Crostini with Mozzarella, pesto, and cherry tomato

heaping ½ cup pesto
51⁄2oz (150g) mozzarella, broken into pieces
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Spoon a little pesto on to each crostini, top with a piece of mozzarella and then a quartered tomato. You should have two quarters left over.

Crostini with crab, cream cheese, and chili dipping sauce

6oz can white crabmeat, drained
3 heaped tbsp cream cheese
3 tsp chili dipping sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then spoon on to the crostini.

 

Side

These are best prepared a day ahead. Make more than you need and freeze them for another occasion—they’re great when there are just two or four of you. Serve with chops, grilled meat, or fish.

Cheese-topped dauphinois potatoes

Serves 6

Special equipment – 7in (18cm) square shallow metal pan lined with non-stick paper and greased
1lb 10oz (750g) large Yukon Gold potatoes or other floury potatoes
¾ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pat of butter
scant 1oz (25g) mature Cheddar cheese, grated

Serves 12

Special equipment – 9 x 12in (23 x 30cm) roasting pan lined with non-stick paper and greased
3lb (1.35kg) large Yukon Gold potatoes or other floury potatoes
1½ cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
¾ cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tbsp butter
1¾ oz (50g) mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C). Peel the potatoes and rinse under cold water, then dry and slice very thinly by hand or with the slicer attachment on a processor. Put the stock into a large bowl and mix with the cream.

2. Arrange a layer of potato over the base of the pan, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then pour over a little of the stock mixture. Continue in the same way until the potato and liquid are used up. Dot the butter over the top and cover tightly with foil.

3. Bake for 30 minutes (45 minutes for 12) or until soft around the edges but still firm in the middle. Remove the foil and cook for a further 25–30 minutes (35–45 minutes for 12) or until golden and tender. Leave to cool, then chill—overnight is best.

4. Choose a lipped board or tray that’s bigger than the roasting pan (so it will catch any juices) and place on a worktop. Carefully turn the roasting pan upside down on to it and remove the paper. Cut the potatoes into even-sized servings, arrange on a greased or paper-lined baking sheet, and sprinkle the cheese on top.

5. Reheat in an oven preheated to 400˚F (200˚C) for 25–30 minutes (35 minutes for 12) or until golden and piping hot.

Prepare ahead and freezeThe dish can be made up to the end of step 3 up to 1 day ahead or up to the end of step 4 up to 8 hours ahead. Freeze for up to 2 months.

 

Main

Slow-roasted lamb is ideal for a crowd—it looks after itself in the oven, it’s tender, and easy to carve. No wonder it’s Mary’s family lunch most Sundays. Serve with mint sauce and red currant jelly.

 

Slow-roast leg of lamb

Serves 6

3lb 3oz (1.5kg) half-boned leg of lamb
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
bunch of fresh thyme
2 red onions, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½ cups water mixed with 1 beef stock cube
1 heaped tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp water
1 heaped tbsp red currant jelly
a little gravy browning (optional)

 

Serves 12

2 x 3lb 3oz (1.5kg) half-boned legs of lamb
16 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
large bunch of fresh thyme
4 red onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5½ cups water mixed with 2 beef stock cubes
2 heaped tbsp all-purpose flour
6 tbsp water
2 heaped tbsp red currant jelly
a little gravy browning (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F). Lay the lamb on a board and use a small sharp knife to make holes in the flesh. Push the garlic and thyme into the holes.

2. Arrange the onions in the base of a large roasting pan. Sit a grill rack over the onions and place the lamb on top. Drizzle over the oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Roast for 30–40 minutes (40–50 minutes for 12) or until brown. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 275˚F (140˚C).

4. Pour the stock around the lamb, cover the pan with foil, and return to the oven for 4 hours (4½ hours for 12) or until the meat is tender and just falling off the bone.

5. Transfer the lamb to a board, cover with foil, and leave to rest while you make the gravy.

6. Put the flour into a cup and mix to a smooth runny paste with the water. Heat the roasting pan on the stove, whisk in the flour mixture and the red currant jelly, and bring to a boil, stirring all the time until smooth. Check the seasoning and add a little gravy browning if you’d like the gravy to be a rich brown color.

7. Carve the lamb and serve with the hot gravy.

Variations – If you’re cooking on a budget, use shoulder of lamb, which is much more reasonably priced, although it can be a little fatty. Make sure you skim off any fat at the end of cooking. If you prefer thin gravy, leave out the flour—just use the juices in the pan.

Prepare ahead – The lamb can be prepared up to the end of step 2 up to 1 day ahead. Not suitable for freezing.

 

“Excerpted from Cook Up a Feast – copyright 2013 Dorling Kindersley Ltd.”






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