Last summer, I did a make-ahead menu for a great summer dinner party, and a reader asked if I would do the same for the cold-weather months. Well, here it is!
Get everything done in advance, and the day-of-work prep can be done inside of an hour. Here’s how to go about it:
One Day Ahead:
• Make the Blanquette Stew through step 2. Refrigerate the pork and the vegetables separately.
• Make the Profiteroles, but don’t fill them with the ice cream. They freeze BEAUTIFULLY!
• Make the caramel and chocolate sauces for the profiteroles (or buy great-quality sauces) (Trader Joe’s sells a lovely salted-caramel sauce that will work beautifully).
You’ve got the bulk of the work done right there!
Day of Party:
• Prep the endive leaves for the Belgian Endive Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese. Wrap in paper towels and refrigerate until ready to use.
• Prep the dressing for the salad. You can let this stand at room temperature if serving within 2 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.
• 1 hour before dinner:
• Refresh the profiteroles from their frozen state (about 7 minutes in a 350°F oven)
• Get the Any-Night Baked Rice going. Once it’s finished, it will stay warm for a good half-hour or so if you keep it covered in a warm place.
• Finish the Blanquette stew. At this point, it will be easy to de-fat the pan liquid, as the fat will have solidified–just spoon it off and discard. Bring the pork and pan liquid to a boil and continue with step 3.
• Keep the Blanquette and rice warm while you serve the salad.
• Serve the Blanquette
• Warm the dessert sauces, fill the profiteroles with ice cream; serve.
• Pour more wine, enjoy your friends. And enjoy the accolades.