Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Nina C.

New Year's Eve Dinner for 30

Recommended Posts

For the past few years, I've hosted a NYE pre-party. It started because I was feeling torn between spending the evening with folks who wanted to drink and dance the night away, and folks who wanted a quieter or asleep midnight. Instead everyone gathers at my house for dinner before heading out for other plans.

This year, I seem to have overextended my guest list. Based on previous years acceptance rates, I'm guessing we'll end up around 30-35 people which is a lot for our apartment. (previous years have been around 20 people.) Thankfully, my group of friends are not at all fancy - they're artists and writers and food-makers, and are happy to sit on the floor or perch throughout the apartment with a plate of food. There are many vegetarians, at least one vegan, and many Jews who won't eat pork or mix meat/dairy. I'm also trying to keep my costs down as much as possible. I did a french menu last year, and southern food and mexican food recently, so I've settled on an Italian menu for this year.

This is my current thinking:


Polenta with Mushrooms OR some sort of baked pasta. The polenta is a la Scott Conant and is incredible, but is probably not the best for eating spread throughout the apartment. Still, I'm having trouble cutting it from the menu since it's so good. I was thinking I'd keep it warm in the crock pot. I'll swap the chix stock for veg.

Lentils braised in red wine Lentils are good luck on NYE as they are reminiscent of money and abundance. I'll put out a pot, and keep the rest warm in the oven.

Italian Sausages - leaving the lentils vegetarian, but meat eaters can have some meat. Pigs are considered good luck since they root forward, rather than scratching backwards like chickens.

Farro salad http://www.marthastewart.com/893274/farro-salad-brussels-sprouts-radicchio-and-ricotta-salata or http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/farro-salad-with-turnips-and-greens or my old standby with dried cherries, rosemary, and hazelnuts. this feels slightly redundant, but I adore farro, it's cheap, can be done in advance, and I don't have to worry about temperature.

Baked Spinach from Julia Child - this is French, but it feels like it will go with the rest of the menu. Also, many cultures consider greens good luck on NY because they resemble money. I'd probably make two or three big dishes, and keep the others warm in the oven to replenish as needed.


chocolate walnut cake OR store-bought panetone



Is this too heavy? Should I do an arugula salad with roasted grapes instead of the baked spinach?

If I want to cut one or two things to simplify, which should they be?

I usually do a punch - any good recipes that would work with this menu?

Any incredible recipes that you think I should serve instead?

Thank you for any advice you can give!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nina, it sounds like a lovely evening and dinner. My only critique is that it seems very carb heavy--polenta, lentils, and farro. You know your audience, so that might be the way to go. The polenta w/ mushrooms seems like a good vegetarian main, so I'd definitely keep it. And I'm fond of lentils, and I think they'd go well with both the sausages and spinach. They're fine made in advance and at room temp. So I suppose that means I'd cut the farro, good as it may be.

Don't ditch the spinach, people will want vegetables. I'd add another, maybe something raw. Perhaps your arugula/grape salad? Or staying with the Italian theme, I like a salad of arugula, thinly sliced fennel, and orange/citrus supremes.

If you decide on grapes in the salad, no grapes for dessert, redundant Pears are a good dessert fruit. And how about some cheese?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Will the meat eating Jewish people be happy eating vegetarian? With the pork, you risk all sorts of issues with guests cross-contaminating other dishes so that the Jewish people may only feel comfortable eating salad and dessert. What about some sort of baked fish dish or stew?

I agree with Linda, I'd swap the faro for a vegetable salad of some sort, perhaps a fennel/orange/olive salad?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.