We brought it back to New Year's this year, as some people had problems with the mid-week/work-week dinner last year.
Four dinners and, by my count, four successful dinners! A relief as I didn't feel like we had as many new dishes this year; we've been a bit less creative, I think, in our normal dinner choices. But we've also eaten a lot of new things that just don't work as well in the large dinner party setting (pizzas, mostly, but other stuff as well, like the panisses I made a few weeks ago that were good, but require a lot of last-minute attention). With 18 people showing up, that wasn't an option. Lamb shoulder really is hard to beat for these parties.
Anyway: last night's menu:
Vin chaud (aka 'mulled wine')
Arroz con pollo with olives and preserved lemons
Lamb tagine with dates and raisins
Roasted butternut squash
Chick peas 'maison'
Green salad with apples and pine nuts
Pear almond tart
Ice creams: vanilla, cinnamon, chestnut
Basic here doesn't mean 'easy' because making it involves cleaning leeks, which is a huge hassle.
And Helen pointed out that even though the soup was good, it probably wasn't worth the complications. I think she's right. As the dinner has evolved, it's moved from more structured to less (witness the disappearance of the palate cleanser course). Probably be best to just have the soup out for people who want it...
|Arroz con Pollo|
The rest went great. People liked the squash, despite it being squash, which is, well, squash. The chick peas got eaten up, too. It's a standard dish here, probably close to weekly – chick peas sauteed with cumin seeds, chipotles, tomatoes, raisins, and almonds, then simmered in beer for a bit. We don't actually call it chick peas maison, but we don't have a name for it, so there it is.
The lamb is always a big hit. I even served it in a real tagine this time.
|Roasted Butternut Squash|
They're a great dinner party food, it turns out – even better if you've got kids coming who want to help make them.
|Pecan Chocolate Pie|
|Pear Almond Tart|