Your 'go to' entertaining main meal?

Do you have a recipe that is your go to when you have people over for dinner (friends, as opposed to corporate type entertaining so nothing flash as) or do you try different things all the time?

I used to have a rather busy role that saw me travelling all the time and when people came over for dinner wanted something tasty and, while not too time consuming.

Chef_awoftam, May 29, 5:53 pm

An easy peasy chicken dish I do is:

Coat chicken thighs (I prefer thighs to breasts) in pesto.
Coast in a mixture of bread crumbs made with black olives whizzed in
Drizzle with butter
Bake for 30/40 mins or so until golden and crispy

Serve on top of a tomato sauce (if you don't want to make your own tinned chopped tomatoes with garlic is a goodie_ with a salad/steamed veges and crispy potatoes.

Weird thing about this dish is people who 'hate' olives eat it and say 'you can't taste the olives' and people who love olives say 'you can taste the olives' which leads me to believe people who don't like olives don't actually know what they taste like lol.

Chef_awoftam, May 29, 6:01 pm

I tend to do the casserole/slow cooker thing with chicken or beef.
When I have a crowd, it's usually just that . a crowd of 20 odd.& my oven isn't very big.
Salads make up the balance.
If I'm doing a meal for 6 or so, I love making individual filo tarts with a variety of fillings, mostly vegetarian, but sometimes chicken.
I love cooking for a crowd & find the most difficult part is deciding what to cook!

Chef_samanya, May 29, 6:18 pm

Do you just bind the filling with a bechamel?

Chef_awoftam, May 29, 6:30 pm

A shoulder or forequarter of lamb, covered with a paste of garlic, paprika, cumin, Turkish pepper paste, olive oil and salt, roasted for about seven hours at 140C. Served with a big salad of steamed silver beet with a yoghurt and preserved lemon dressing, roasted or pan fried kumara. Or with a big lettuce and herb salad in summer.

Chef_davidt4, May 29, 7:16 pm

That sounds divine.

Not something I could have done being away and getting home at 6 with people arriving at 8 - unless partner started it for me and that was never going to happen lol.

Gawd, I don't know how I did it, so glad those days have passed. was fun at the time tho.

Chef_awoftam, May 29, 7:20 pm

I always used to do Chicken Chasseur. and started the sauce the day before. it was devine. but haven't done it for ages.

Chef_karlymouse, May 29, 7:57 pm

Sounds like something to pull out again now it is getting colder! That's what I love about boards like these, other people do stuff you may have forgotten about, or give you ideas for new things to try.

Chef_awoftam, May 29, 8:11 pm

I had a shoulder of lamb out to cook today and then happened to read the mad butchers Chelsea winter recipe magazine. That had pulled lamb which you'd cook for 5 hours at 140. I decided I wouldn't waste my lamb cooking it faster so am saving it for Saturday. I like the yoghurt dressing idea davidt4. And I do have preserved lemons in my fridge. Although they are so hot from the chilli I added! Won't do that one again. Not sure if I like them or if I did them properly.

Chef_wendalls, May 29, 8:57 pm

Since hubby has mastered the webber his go to is lamb, chicken or pork on webber with jacket potatoes cooked in foil with garlic and butter,(also on webber) with home made coleslaw, with bread rolls if feeding hungry males.
If I am whipping up an easy relaxed dinner I would serve a veg chilli on couscous or rice.

Chef_ruby19, May 29, 9:25 pm

Poached beef, with either new potatoes if in season, or if not with smoky bbq mushrooms over baked potato.
Both so easy and the beef can be cooked up to two hours before you serve and just left.

Chef_fey, May 30, 2:45 pm

A nice dressing for lamb is

lemon juice

all blitzed up. I add cumin sometimes - yummy over roasted lamb served on a cous cous loaded with peppers, nuts, spring onions, coriander, mint and basil.

Its nice on chicken too, sans the cumin.

I am getting some great ideas off here to refresh tried and true favs, thanks, folks!

Chef_awoftam, May 30, 3:46 pm

I'm getting great ideas, too & thanks for yours.
I have a freezer full of lamb/hogget & I do tend to get sick of the usual ways of serving it, so to dress it up with those lovely flavours that you've suggested would make a lovely change.

Chef_samanya, May 30, 5:56 pm

fey, how big is the piece of meat you use? What I have read tells me it should be sliced, as opposed to a roast to ensure it cooks all the way through. Is this correct? I have only ever poached chicken.

Chef_awoftam, May 30, 6:26 pm

Hi awoftam. The roast is used whole: Here's how: I use a good roast about 1-1.5kg. You need a really big pot. I put in beef stock, usually with peppercorns but have left those out sometimes. Brown the roast well. Bring the stock to a rolling boil and add the roast. Make sure it is covered (sometimes this means adding or taking out stock). Bring back to the boil then let simmer for about 7 minutes. Cover tightly and turn the heat off. The residue heat cooks the meat. I do this about hour and half before ready to serve.
The best part is the outer bits are medium rare and inside can be quite rare, depending on how long you leave it for. It is not a recipe for beef that falls apart, more for rare roast beef.
The longer you leave it, the more it cooks.
It won't be red hot when you serve, more warm but somehow that makes the taste better.
I didn't believe this recipe would work the first time I tried it but it's amazing. The better quality the meat, the better the result. Oh, its best if you trim off as much of the fat as you can from the outside.
I sometimes do it to have rare slices of roast beef for sandwiches the day before I need it too.

Chef_fey, May 31, 5:51 pm

Oh fey . I'm drooling, that sounds just lovely, from someone who has a surplus of sheep meat!
What cut of beef do you use?

Chef_samanya, May 31, 6:16 pm

Hit and Run chicken, by Jamie Oliver ---devine, esp with nice cobb bread, easy as to put on to cook when you get home, makes heaps and smells soooo yummy.
I haven't got the recipe but google it, very easy to find.

Chef_happymullen, May 31, 6:49 pm

Someone mentioned hogget above and I am so wanting to buy some hogget but never see it anywhere? I live in Hastings does anyone know where I could buy some?

Chef_skydancing, May 31, 9:59 pm

Ohh yum thank you so much. I will def be trying this. Poaching is a magnificent way to cook chicken and I can imagine it would be stunning with beef - all the favour infusing slowly.

Do you use fillet?

Chef_awoftam, May 31, 10:13 pm

Hi guys, I have used fillet and as long as it is a big enough piece it would be fine. I have used sirloin too. The better the cut of beef the better the result.
Basically if you would roast it rare it can be poached. If it is beef that you would cook to fall apart or stew, it won't be as good.
Beware, I did it with a smaller piece and ended up with it more cooked than I like so I tend to stick with the 1 to 1.5 kg piece now. It will still be moist - after all, you are cooking it in liquid but it won't be as tender.
If you give it a go, good luck!
There are lots of poaching beef recipes online who use a slightly different method - harder boiling for longer then taking the beef out to rest, but this is the method I prefer - mainly because I'm lazy and want max results for minimum effort!

Chef_fey, Jun 1, 6:20 pm

Skydancing, not Hastings but Downeys butchery in Te Awa ave Napier usually have hogget, phone them first to see.

Chef_sooseque, Jun 1, 10:17 pm

What are you planing to cook with hogget?

Chef_awoftam, Jun 3, 6:25 pm

I just want to bring back memories of beautiful roast legs of hogget. I havent had one since I lived in dunedin over 30 years ago

Chef_skydancing, Jun 3, 9:48 pm

hogget is nicer than lamb

Chef_cary14, Jun 3, 9:55 pm

That's a matter of opinion.

Chef_awoftam, Jun 4, 5:41 pm

Your butcher will be able to help you? Or your local supermarket? I see hogget in the New World here at odd intervals - altho to be fair some of the legs of 'lamb' sold in supermarkets look rather hoggety to me, given their size.

Chef_awoftam, Jun 4, 5:43 pm

Never liked hogget until we started home killing, beautiful meat!

Chef_dogbond, Jun 7, 2:29 pm

Who do you get to do yours, dogbond?

Chef_samanya, Jun 15, 3:06 pm

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