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Old 07-06-2013, 04:59 AM   #1
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Dinner club menu - requires a main. Any ideas?

Hi!

So we have a dinner club with some friends and we meet once a month at a couple's house and enjoy a well thought out and beautifully cooked meal... with some wine usually :) Next month it is my turn and as it will be full blown winter I want to do something hearty but not too heavy.

1. Starter: pea and ham soup made with pulled eisbein in a slow cooker.

2. ??? (this is where I need your help please)

3. apple and cherry pie with homemade apple butter ice cream.

The problem is I can't think of anything that fits well. Red meat or duck would be too rich in the context, pork is already in the starter. That leaves chicken or fish really... and neither are jumping out at me as a party-worthy idea. Or perhaps its the starter that doesn't go well? Any ideas would be appreciated!

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Old 07-06-2013, 06:27 AM   #2
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Hi drmaz, don't know if you would find this recipe suitable. Although pork, it ends up like no other pork I have ever tasted. I really love it (as do the friends I have cooked it for) - hope it suits

Recipes2Share - Pork, Anchovy and Black Olive Stew on Polenta
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:22 AM   #3
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If you changed your soup to something a little less hearty, say, roasted red pepper and tomato or mushroom and walnut ( that's a good one ) then you could serve a rich venison in red wine casserole with mashed potato and a green vegetable perhaps.Also, most of your meal can be prepared in advance. I make mine the day before.
Hope this helps
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:32 AM   #4
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Dinner clubs are great fun. I belong to one that meets every three months with three other couples. Our format is a little different. Whoever is hosting chooses a theme, and then each couple contributes one course and a wine pairing that fits in the theme.

Personally, I think your starter may be a little heavy. You might want to change it to a lighter soup, or even just a salad. What I've found us that when guests come hungry, they will often fill up on hors d'oeuvres and starter courses, and then run out of steam before the entree even gets to the table. You really just want to whet their appetite for the main course.

I'm guessing you like German food. My suggestion for a winter party main course would be Sauerbraten and gravy, with Spätzle and Rotkohl side dishes. For a wine pairing, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) would be a good choice or, since you live in SA, Pinotage. My grandmother used to make this dish for Sunday dinners, and it's still one of my favorites!
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:03 AM   #5
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I was waiting for you to come in Steve. This is right up your alley.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acerbicacid View Post
Hi drmaz, don't know if you would find this recipe suitable. Although pork, it ends up like no other pork I have ever tasted. I really love it (as do the friends I have cooked it for) - hope it suits

Recipes2Share - Pork, Anchovy and Black Olive Stew on Polenta
mmmm well that does sound delicious! I'm sure I will give that a try at some point even if not for this event. Thank you
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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Menumaker and Steve, I think you are right about the soup - a change is probably in order!

Venison is a good option but somehow it always seems tough when I make it so I think I'll practice a bit more on that before I serve it to my guests ;-)

And as for the German food Steve, I have never made much other than eisbein so I will investigate some of those recipes and see how much elbow grease is involved - we may have a german food deli here in Johannesburg so that may make it slightly easier than making all courses from scratch!
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #8
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Are you open to a theme dinner? Such as all German, or Italian, Danish, etc. We have members of every nationality here at DC. What meat are you most comfortable with and it always comes out good? Do you have a budget constraint? How many courses are you planning on serving? I would suggest that if you serve soup as your opening item, then serve it in a tea cup with saucer. No more than six to eight ounces per person. Usually one small ladle full. Warm the cups before filling. It is just enough to tell their stomach that it has been fed, but not enough to fill them up. Then they will be ready for the next course.

Can you share what your thoughts have been so far? It would make it easier for us to offer suggestions and recipes.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmaz View Post
And as for the German food Steve, I have never made much other than eisbein so I will investigate some of those recipes and see how much elbow grease is involved - we may have a german food deli here in Johannesburg so that may make it slightly easier than making all courses from scratch!
Here is a link that may provide some ideas:
German Menu Ideas - Typical German Dishes That Go Together - Family Dinners, Celebrations and Pub Menus
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:38 AM   #10
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I would keep the starter - especially because it's a do ahead item and will make last minute prep simper.

How about for a main: Cornish hens stuffed with with wild rice and mushrooms. Serve some mixed carrots and green beans along side what have a nice butter, dill sauce.
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