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Dinner for 40

Vegetarian

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#271 kbjesq

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:37 AM

Hi kbjesq, welcome to eGullet!  Thanks for the suggestion - Cook's Illustrated is usually my go-to place for things like this, but I've let my website subscription lapse.  I'll probably re-up soon, though, and will check out the recipes you mention.

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I'm so embarrassed - my first post and I already steered you wrong. The recipe in New Moosewood Cookbook is for Cuban Black Beans and Rice, not Arroz con Pollo. (Still a great recipe, though!) I should have noticed that mistake right away since the Moosewood doesn't have chicken recipes . . . .sorry! But here is the Arroz con Pollo recipe from Cook's Illustrated . . . when I make it in big batches, I use boneless chicken thighs to speed up the process (I don't have any helpers!)

___________________________

ARROZ CON POLLO

To keep the dish from becoming greasy, it is important to remove excess fat from the chicken thighs and trim the skin. To use long-grain rice instead of medium-grain, increase the water to 3/4 cup in step 2.

Serve 4 to 6

6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons
Ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice (see note above)
1/2 cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos , cut into 1/4 by 2-inch strips
Lemon wedges , for serving


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium.) Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

4. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

#272 tammylc

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:46 AM

Can you describe your process to me for making this in big batches? Are you just using a few larger pans? I've always shied away from upsizing dishes where the rice and everything else cooks in one pot, for fear that the bottom will burn and the rice in the middle won't get done. I've modified the Cook's Illustrated jambalaya recipe so that I cook the rice separately in our big rice cooker, then combine it the the meat, vegetables and liquid shortly before serving. Seems like a similar adaptation might work well for this recipe too, although I would like to hear about your strategy. Typically I'm cooking for about 32 meat eating adults plus some kids, so I'd need to do at least 6 batches of the recipe you give.

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#273 kbjesq

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 11:43 AM

Can you describe your process to me for making this in big batches?  Are you just using a few larger pans?  I've always shied away from upsizing dishes where the rice and everything else cooks in one pot, for fear that the bottom will burn and the rice in the middle won't get done.



Sorry it took a few days to get back here. How I prepare this recipe for a large crowd is to follow the concept of the recipe but simplify it a bit (because I usually don't have any helpers).

I buy boneless chicken thighs and remove the skin, then I marinate for an hour or so as directed in the recipe. (I think this marinade is the secret to the recipe). While the chicken is marinating, I saute the onions, bell pepper, etc. Next, I use a large non-stick saute pan to brown the thighs (in batches) in a bit of olive oil.

I mix the browned chicken with the veggies and rice, olives, capers, salt, cilantro, etc. together in big hotel pans - stir everything together. Then add the broth/tomato juice/water to the pans, stir just a bit, and cover with foil. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees. Then check every 10 -15 minutes to see how it's coming along. If the rice seems dry, I add more water, if the rice seems like its done but the dish is too moist, I remove the foil covers. The total cooking time should be around 40 minutes in the oven. This is a very forgiving dish and once you make it a time or two, you will get the hang of it. I have never had any problem with the rice sticking on the bottom and I do not follow the recipe's instructions about stirring periodically while the dish is baking. (I tried that once and it ruined the texture of the rice). I likewise have not had any problem with the middle not cooking through.

I also simplify the end of the recipe by serving directly from the hotel pans (add a sprinkling of fresh, chopped cilantro for color and taste) and passing freshly made mojo sauce on the side.

This is very odd (to me) but there are some Cubans in my family and they claim that the proper way to eat this dish is to to dab mayonnaise on it at the table!

I hope that this helps. This is an inexpensive and delicious meal! Just add some cornbread and a salad.

Happy cooking!

KBJ

#274 Jujubee

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 08:20 PM

Hi Tammy, I've just found this thread and am very much enjoying reading about your experiences. I have a question though: for the Burnished Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips that you cooked about a year ago (from Fine Cooking), what was the ratio of Chicken Thighs/Mustard/Vinegar in the original recipe? Thanks!

#275 tammylc

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 05:52 AM

Hi Tammy, I've just found this thread and am very much enjoying reading about your experiences.  I have a question though: for the Burnished Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips that you cooked about a year ago (from Fine Cooking), what was the ratio of Chicken Thighs/Mustard/Vinegar in the original recipe?  Thanks!

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The original recipe calls for 8 chicken thighs, 3 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper for the marinade.

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Dinner for 40


#276 iguana

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 11:54 AM

Hello Tammy!

I really enjoyed this thread-- thank you for keeping it going for so long. You're amazing! I have a couple of suggestions; I hope they help.

1. BBQ pork sandwiches: pork shoulder butt is often very cheap-- if you rub the butt with spice rub, put it in a 275 degree oven, and let it cook slowly for 8 hours, it becomes very soft and delicious. You could do this in the AM, then have your prep cooks shred (ie pull) the meat. The meat can be mixed with BBQ sauce and served with buns, beans, and cole slaw. Maybe the vegetarians could have bbq seitan.

2. When you were discussing chicken thighs, I was reminded of another Fine Cooking recipe: Chicken Thighs Baked with Lemon, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. It looks like it would serve your purposes well. It's from FC #46, Aug/Sept 2001.
http://www.taunton.c...emon_herbs.aspx

3. Black beans and rice were mentioned upthread. I usually stew the beans separately from the rice and combine them, as you mentioned you like to do. This is very adaptible for vegetarians, and small children seem to enjoy it too. It's amenable to great garnishing-- avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Good luck and please continue posting your adventures!
Cheers, Jen

Edited by iguana, 09 April 2007 - 11:58 AM.


#277 tammylc

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for the comments, Jen! I love your idea about pork shoulder - that's the kind of make-ahead meal that would actually make sense for me, and will be quite seasonal come summer! And I could add my own special touch by making a couple of different homemade BBQ sauces to serve it with. The chicken recipe looks good too!

This would usually be my week to cook, but I'm going away for training, so I'm not back up for a couple more weeks. It will be the day of my son's 3rd birthday, so I'm cooking his favorite foods - macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, steamed broccoli and baby carrots. I'm planning to make a fairly "adult" mac and cheese, since the kids will have grilled cheese sandwiches too. Anyone want to share their favorite recipe for grownup mac and cheese?

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Dinner for 40


#278 iguana

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

...I love your idea about pork shoulder - that's the kind of make-ahead meal that would actually make sense for me, and will be quite seasonal come summer!  And I could add my own special touch by making a couple of different homemade BBQ sauces to serve it with....


It's Gretchen's Pulled Pork, from the Fine Cooking forum "Cook's Talk". (Wouldn't want to take undue credit!)

Jen

#279 kbjesq

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 06:40 PM

Anyone want to share their favorite recipe for grownup mac and cheese?

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I recently (for the first time in a long time) followed a recipe for "potluck mac and cheese" by an otherwise respectable source, and it was a total disaster. I can't remember the last time that I made mac and cheese (for grown ups) and it wasn't great. I was so embarrassed as I was cooking for guests, to boot!

Anyway, I don't have a specific recipe for you (I'm sure others will chime in with that), but a suggestion, since I know that you are concerned with the budget at your job. The best mac and cheese that I ever make is with "cheese ends" that I buy from my supermarket's deli. I go in early in the morning (or call ahead) and ask if they have any cheese ends (the various left over pieces unsold). Usually, these are available at a very low price, and you will get an amazing assortment (of often very expensive cheeses). This odd product makes the best mac and cheese or cheese fondue. Just melt the cheese into a basic white sauce and flavor/season, to taste. I personally like to add roasted garlic to my mac and cheese, and a splash of vermouth or sherry as the spirit moves me. Homemade garlic breadcrumbs on top do it for me.

KBJ

#280 KarenDW

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 10:25 PM

I agree with KBJ about the mixed cheese. Depending on your budget, I would use about 1/3 to 1/2 lb. of cheese for every pound of pasta. Instead of a white sauce, you could use 1-2 eggs plus 2 cups of cream. It's less fussy, but may cost more than sauce made with butter, flour and skim milk. I suppose it also depends on concerns re: fat content, etc. Maybe you have mentioned that up-thread somewhere, but I have not read *all* the posts, just about 50%.

My last dinner party I made mac and cheese "by request" for the kids, but the adults ate it up, too.

Am totally enjoying all the posts on quantity cooking, here, and also making note of the menu suggestions. My latest gig is Community Meal Chef at the church up the road. Dinner for 100 on $300 or less. :)
Karen Dar Woon

#281 tammylc

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 04:16 AM

Thanks for the reminder that I should report back. The birthday dinner went well - people raved about the mac and cheese. As they should, given that it had 8 lbs of cheese in it! (And actually, I should have made at least one more batch - we had enough, but no leftovers.) I used this Martha Stewart recipe for the proportions, and made four batches of it. I used different kinds of cheese - fontina, gruyere, irish cheddar and gorgonzola. The blue cheese definitely pushed it up a notch and made it grown-up. And the kids still liked it.

This Thursday I'm making the Arroz con Pollo that kbjesq suggested a while ago. After this I don't cook again until the 31st, and I think I'll make the pulled pork like iguana suggested. With coleslaw, I think - anyone have a favorite recipe for slaw? I might like to make a couple different kinds, for variety.

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Dinner for 40


#282 snowangel

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 04:42 AM

This Thursday I'm making the Arroz con Pollo that kbjesq suggested a while ago.  After this I don't cook again until the 31st, and I think I'll make the pulled pork like iguana suggested. With coleslaw, I think - anyone have a favorite recipe for slaw?  I might like to make a couple different kinds, for variety.

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Tammy, there are several coleslaw recipes in RecipeGullet. I'm rather partial to the one I entered, and JAZ's Spicy Asian Coleslaw wins raves, especially from those who like a little zip.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#283 Marmish

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 10:27 AM

My favorite creamy cole slaw recipe is from the Complete Meat Cookbook. The two of us can eat almost the whole batch in two sittings. There is also one for an Asian Slaw in the How to Cook Everything book that has just a few ingredients and is very good. If you want recipes, pm me.

#284 Shelby

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 05:08 PM

I just discovered this thread and read the whole thing this afternoon--in between working!


Really interesting, Tammy!

Are you still doing this?

#285 tammylc

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 12:23 PM

I am still doing it. Tonight, in fact, so I came back to the thread to look up an old meal that I'm re-running tonight. I rarely cook anything new these days - just rotate through a menu of staples and favorites, so I never feel inspired to update the thread!

Tonight is pecan-crusted tilapia with brown butter sauce, cajun rice, and green salad. I mostly don't cook this one anymore because it's so labor intensive to fry all that fish. But cooking on the 23rd of December I figured people would be out of town and I'd have a small group, so it wouldn't be too bad, and that was indeed the case - only 29 diners (19 meat eaters, 3 vegetarians, and 7 kids).

Tammy's Tastings

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Dinner for 40


#286 onrushpam

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 12:43 PM

Tammy,

This Maracell recipe has become a regular at our house. It should be easily scaled. I don't care much for rosemary, so I use thyme instead. DH loves this! I have made it with several types of fish. I think tilapia would work, but you will need to adjust the timing because tilapia filets are thinner than grouper, snapper, etc.

#287 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:01 PM

Thought I'd bump this thread as I found it very fascinating and thought others might too.

 

Thank you Tammy!


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#288 furzzy

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 07:23 PM

Thought I'd bump this thread as I found it very fascinating and thought others might too.
 
Thank you Tammy!


And I'm glad you did! That's how I just found it, and have now read the entire thread. My eyes are burning & droopy, but now I know I'll be able to follow it. There are lots of fabulous ideas here - and I especially like having it all costed out.

thanks, Tammy, for this great thread.





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