Don’t Wait To Start Planning Your Holiday Dinner Party Menu

Posted on December 2 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-485458114.jpgThere’s no need to stress about the holidays, at least not when it comes to cooking for your dinner party. Of course, that’s assuming you’re planning your dinner party early, with enough time to prepare.

Why start planning your dinner party menu now? Here are four of the most important reasons:

  1. Being as prepared as possible takes the stress out of hosting 
  2. With less to do on the day of the party, you’re able to maximize your time with guests
  3. If your dinner party menu is set early, you’re more likely to get the ingredients you need before they potentially sell out (brine and onion curls/crisps are popular sides that many people purchase)
  4. You don’t have to wait in long lines that are common as the holidays approach

Now, if you’re having trouble deciding what to make for your dinner party, let us help by sharing one of our favorite holiday dinner meals and the recipe.

Leg Of Lamb With Fennel, And Apple-Mint Chutney

Makes 6-8 servings and 2 cups of chutney / Total time: 3 hours, 45 minutes / Source 

Ingredients:

Lamb And Fennel

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (roughly 1 lemon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 leg of lamb, trimmed (roughly 6-7 pounds)
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 lemons, halved crosswise

Apple-Mint Chutney

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced ½ inch
  • ⅓ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint

 

Preparation:

Boneless Lamb And Fennel

  1. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of oil, zest, juice and garlic. In a separate bowl, combine kosher salt, mustard powder, pepper, celery seed, nutmeg and allspice.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place one rack in center and one rack on lowest level. Rinse lamb and pat dry. Place lamb on large roasting pan, fat side up. Using a sharp paring knife, make 15 to 20 small slits around the lamb. Generously rub lemon mixture over entire surface of lamb. Follow with the dry spice mixture, pushing into slits.
  3. Roast lamb in the center of the oven for roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the lamb (without touching the bone), cook until the thermometer reads 130 degrees F (for medium rare).
  4. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss together fennel, lemons, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. After lamb has roasted for 1 hour, place fennel and lemons on lower rack. Roast about 40 minutes, turning once, until fennel is golden and tender.
  5. Loosely tent lamb with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Transfer to a platter and arrange fennel and lemons around lamb.

Apple-Mint Chutney

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until softened (about 4 minutes). Stir in apple, sugar, raisins, vinegar, salt, nutmeg and ⅓ cup water.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium to cook. Stir occasionally until apple is tender and mixture has thickened slightly (about 8 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in mint.
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