Fancy Fall Food
October 21, 2017 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a dinner party for about 10 gals on a nice Fall evening, in my backyard. (If the weather permits.) Think fire pits, mulled wine, apple cider with rum, cozy blankets, and maybe roasted marshmallows. What fancy food should I cook?

I have all the kitchen stuff you'd expect, and I'd love to use my giant Le Creuset pots if possible.

Only caveat: no fishy or anything that tastes like fish. Everything else is fair game!

Thanks in advance.
posted by functionequalsform to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Curried butternut squash-apple soup.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

How fun! I'd go with roast chicken (or maybe two) and fall vegetables; I do this in my Le Creusets all the time and the package looks very nice. I think for cozy fall food I'd also do a nice creamy mushroom risotto.
posted by lalex at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

A stuffed pumpkin (or two). Can bake in the Le Creuset as a dutch oven for better heat distribution and even cooking. Can do it lots of different ways, I just did one with sausage, onion, breadcrumbs and asiago inside, seasoned with parsley, sage and rosemary.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:21 AM on October 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Corn pudding
posted by Freedomboy at 11:21 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I used to have a small fireplace in my backyard, and we had a lot of fun wrapping different foods in layers of tinfoil and putting them into the fire for ten minutes or so then eating the results. The trick is to use 2 layers of thick foil, and wrap it with a bit of butter and carefully enough that steam doesn't escape, so your veggies get steamed and caramelized instead of burnt. Carrots with and dill, asparagus and garlic, pre-cooked potatoes... we even did a chunk of tofu with spices that was really tasty.
You could pre-wrap all the packets the day before so all you have to do at the time of the party is toss them in the fire. (or if it rains and you need to stay indoors, the oven)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:27 AM on October 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Roast vegetables - potato, sweet potato, squash, beets, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions. Seasoned salt, rosemary, pepper, olive oil. @ 400F - times will vary so I do them separately. Get some kielbasa, chunk it up. Guests load some kielbasa on a long fork and roast their own over the fire, and have with roasted veg. Apple crisp or pie for dessert. and probably s'mores.
posted by theora55 at 11:30 AM on October 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Baked brie en croute for an appetizer. I’ve also done campfire sandwiches with brie before, where you take a baguette, slather it with jam, put some brie slices in, roll it in foil, and then bake in the fire.
posted by topophilia at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2017 [11 favorites]

Pulled pork isn't fancy, I suppose, but goes so well with roasted fall vegetables and various winter squash concoctions.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Carbonnade flamande if that doesn't go too far over into winter.
posted by Smearcase at 11:53 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

For dessert, individual pumpkin cakes, poached pears, caramel sauce and speed whipped cream.
posted by jennstra at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2017

posted by Ideefixe at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

We had this - essentially a sausage, squash and apple baked risotto - for supper earlier in the week and it was so good, and so seasonal. And we made it in our Le Creuset, rather than using several pans.
posted by featherboa at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

One of my favorite falltime dishes is roasted acorn squash cut in half, then topped with chevre and bacon. Really simple but people go nuts for it whenever we make it.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:24 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sounds like the perfect occasion for a cassoulet (but I think it's always the perfect occasion for a cassoulet).
posted by HandfulOfDust at 12:28 PM on October 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

Brussels sprouts roasted with chunks of parsnip and pieces of bacon are really good.
posted by neushoorn at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Fancy? Fall? Coq au vin!
posted by rachelpapers at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Beef bourguignon? Your Le Cruesets were practically made for it.

It’s fancy, easy to make, great for fall evenings, feeds a bunch, and isn’t fussy about timing.
posted by notyou at 1:05 PM on October 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

A big soupy stew with game fowl or at least a mix of poultry (duck, goose, chicken). I learnt this from a teacher in my daughter's pre-school. No recipe, just big chunks of seasonal vegs and bird parts in a huge pot, cover with water and cook gently (nice if over an open fire) till the meat falls of the bones. Well, remember to season with salt, pepper, herbs and spices to taste.
Since I learnt this while cooking for kids, there was no wine or anything in it and it was surprisingly sophisticated: aromatic and very delicious. I've made it many times since, sometimes I've put some potatoes in there for extra fullness. A nice whole bread is good with this.
posted by mumimor at 1:15 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Last night was a friend's birthday and I made scallops served on top of whipped sweet & russet potatoes with bacon lardon garnish. It was sauced with browned butter and a maple gastrique (basically maple syrup and vinegar cooked down...birthday boy is a Canadian citizen).

If scallops are too fishy, you could easily substitute chicken or pork tenderloin to the above.

If you want to go the route of the stews listened above and still want the fancy cred, search out the Julie Child or Serious Eats recipes for those dishes. They are elaborate but the results are layers of flavor.
posted by mmascolino at 1:58 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I see you already have lots of marvelous root vegetable and squash recipes but I need to throw in this one. Even if you don't use it for your party, please try it sometime. It's so good and so simple. And so good. SO GOOD. It may even work as an appetizer, paired with the brie en croute suggested above or maybe some stuffed dates or figs.

It doesn't use the Le Creuset, but a pork loin roast is great for a party; only takes an hour or so, depending on size, and all you have to do is flip it once and make a quick pan sauce while the meat rests. Just deglaze the pan with some apple cider. (Goes very well with the squash above, or a wild rice pilaf, and perhaps some green beans with walnuts.) If you're still after a stew recipe, this lamb stew is easy and delightful but still feels kinda fancy because lamb.
posted by halation at 2:37 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

ahh so many yummy ideas, I want to come to your party

a butternut squash-bechamel lasagna with sage (and with a gooey white cheese, jack would be fine) is so autumnish and delicious and comforting and fancy all at the same time. Bonus, makes good party food bc assembles well ahead of time, you just bake it before you want to eat.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:58 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Since it seems you have mains covered - I vote for roasted pears. Let some caramels melt over them at the last minute if you want sweet..... pair with brie or blue cheese if you want savory.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 3:43 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lamb-stuffed baked acorn squash with cous-cous and pomegranate seeds. Lots of cumin in the lamb. I can give you photos and a recipie if you like it. Made it up in my head one day and then made it for real twice. It was a hit.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:58 PM on October 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'd do roast chicken with a number of different sides (in those lovely pots!). Definitely Tartiflette or a hasselback gratin included.

Homemade marshmallows to roast would be such a fun touch for dessert! And homemade graham crackers for s'mores... You could even bag up a few for party favours if you're so inclined.
posted by hellomiss at 4:31 PM on October 21, 2017

oh my heavens, Ironmouth, I'd be very appreciative if you would post that recipe. I need it.
posted by halation at 4:38 PM on October 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Short ribs braised in red wine, slow cooked in a Dutch oven for a few hours. Elegant yet comforting, and easy because once you get it going you can “set it and forget it” til it’s done. My go to recipe for this is the Pioneer Woman’s. Pairs beautifully with mashed potatoes, or mashed rutabaga (underrated!), or even roasted brussel sprouts with a nice balsamic vinegar glaze.

Do you have a smoker? Asking because I am doing something similar tomorrow night (backyard autumn campfire birthday celebration with mulled cider and so forth) and am in this mindset of wanting to slow cook ribs all day long in the smoker... that aroma in the air all day, paired with the woodsmoke from the fire, really lends to the atmosphere.
posted by nightrecordings at 5:09 PM on October 21, 2017

I can't find it online but years ago Yankee Magazine published a nice maple pots de creme recipe - nothing especially autumnal about the maple custard itself, but their recipe had you bake the custard inside hollowed out little decorative pumpkins instead of ramekins... I took the trouble to make it with the pumpkins once it was some serious Martha Stewart-level cozy country autumn decorative gourd season goodness (and a delicious, cozy dessert to boot.) This maple pots de creme recipe looks pretty close to what I remember.

It should go without saying for any maple recipe, but: use pure maple syrup only. The darker/lower grade you can find the better!
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 5:38 PM on October 21, 2017

In my family, the classic favorite fall things with hot mulled cider are spinach balls, stuffed baby mushrooms, and melted brie with bagel chips. They are good finger foods if you're having a party where people might not be sitting at a table. You could also maybe do a fall pizza -- tonight I made a pizza with burrata mozzarella, delicata squash, shallots, pine nuts and dried cranberries. I'll admit I used what I had on hand for a different recipe I didn't want to make, so it wasn't a recipe, but it turned out tasty. I'd look for pizza recipes that use squash or apples.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:47 PM on October 21, 2017

This is awesome and so easy: Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms.
posted by nanook at 6:11 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

For a very easy and not too heavy desert that is absolutely seasonal try some poached pears.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:40 AM on October 22, 2017

Roast a goose and people will talk about it for ages. Collect the fat and keep it in a jar in the fridge for a year, and cook everything in it. Your arteries won't thank you but your tastebuds will.
posted by egeanin at 10:11 PM on October 22, 2017

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