Great dish for a Thanksgiving potluck?
November 13, 2009 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Help me think of something delicious to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck.

As you might expect, there are a few limitations. This will be for a fairly sizable group - let's say 40 to be safe - so it needs to be something that's easy to make in large quantities. Additionally, and probably most problematically, I can't guarantee I'll be able to heat anything or keep it cold on site, and we won't be eating until we've been at the venue for at least three or four hours. Other people mostly have the sweets and desserts covered, so I'd like to avoid those.

So I need something savory I can make a lot of and which will be tasty and safe to serve at room temperature. So far the only idea I have is something bready, but straight-up cornbread seems too dull. Any other suggestions?
posted by miskatonic to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Banana pudding. Make it in a huge pan, like one big enough to serve a turkey in. My grandmother makes this every year, and it's delicious even five hours after it's been served. It's runny and sugary and gooey and delicious.

Stuffing is another alternative. It's pretty good served at room temperature as well.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:51 PM on November 13, 2009

I made the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls every year for my mother's 60+ family members. Here is the basic recipe, which can easily be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled:

Melt In Your Mouth Dinner Rolls

Dissolve 1 pkg yeast in 1/2 cup warm water

1 TB sugar
1 tsp baking powder

Let stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile;

Scald 1 cup milk

1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt

Cool, then add 2 beaten eggs.

Combine all with 4 1/2 cups flour. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Roll medium sized pebbles & shape, placing three dough balls per slot in muffin pans two hours before serving. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Makes 2 dz.
posted by banannafish at 7:04 PM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm bringing this corn bread casserole, which it seems like everyone likes.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:04 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Make a couple big pans of this butternut squash and goat cheese gratin. We use toasted pine nuts instead of hazelnuts. It is easy to put together, and you can spread the work out over several weeknights if you want. It is amazing at room temperature. It's hefty enough to act as a main dish for vegetarians. But everyone will go bonkers over it. It is so, so good.
posted by peachfuzz at 7:13 PM on November 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm gonna try making this Ruth Reichl pumpkin bread pudding thing this Thanksgiving --- seems pretty scalable for a crowd, and likely it'd retain heat for quite a while, as you're baking it whole. Here's pics from someone else who tried the recipe.

If you're committed to bread, what about the no-knead bread recipe? I've found the America's Test Kitchen version has some good points --- it's a bit over-fussy as is often the case with them but subbing in some of the water with lager is genius.

Also, you might try quiche or a frittata or a Spanish tortilla. Not exactly thanksgiving traditional, but you can stuff 'em with all kinds of delicious fillings, and they'll travel well and can be served at room temp.

Or you could buy/make some pizza dough and throw together some calzones. (I favor roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, manchego and chorizo as a filling). If you buy the dough from your local pizza joint, it's just a question of cooking your filling and baking them off, should come together fairly quickly.
posted by Diablevert at 7:39 PM on November 13, 2009

Appetizers, appetizers appetizers! Whet those palates!

Parboil sweet potato slices, then toss with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roast. French/Italian bread sliced thin with ricotta, *ripe* tomato and fresh basil. Not new, not rocket science, but gone in a heartbeat.

And seconding the pumpkin bread pudding thing. More pumpkin.
posted by emhutchinson at 7:53 PM on November 13, 2009

Hey peanut migillicuty - add chopped green onions to the batter, and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of that cornbread casserole recipe - it won me a prize in a contest!
posted by CathyG at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

If someone else is bring turkey, how about fresh cranberry relish? It is my only must-have side dish for TG dinner. And it has been popular with everyone I have given it to.

1 pound fresh cranberries (ok if frozen, bu tnot cooked or cannedP)
1 medium orange, with skin
1 apple, whole
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, to taste.

Coarsely grind the fruits, mix all well.
Best made the day before. The flavors mellow together with a little time.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like the stuffing idea. Or along those same lines, some kind of rice-y side dish, maybe couscous with currants and walnuts would feel Thanksgivingish.
posted by lakeroon at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2009

These are all great ideas. I think I'll probably go with the cornbread casserole because I already have a bunch of Trader Joe's cornbread mix in my cupboard - adding onions and cheese sounds good, too.
posted by miskatonic at 8:40 AM on November 14, 2009

CathyG's additions made my casserole a real winner. I took it to the friends-only Thanksgiving potluck we had yesterday and I'm lucky to have any leftovers at all. I'm using those modifications from now on!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2009

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