As much as I love a good summer BBQ, there’s something about cozying up in the fall and winter over a home-cooked meal with friends and family. Not to mention Thanksgiving, which is the one day where nearly everyone gets together for the biggest dinner party of the year. December holidays bring more of the same, and on through the winter months––when it’s too cold to think of doing much else.
This dinner party menu can get you through the entire season. All of the ingredients are seasonal for both fall and winter, and the overall vibe is definitely comfort food with a modern twist.
We start with an amazing cheese board, because we’re not in bikini season anymore! A simple spiced red sangria makes use of in-season fruit like apples, pears, and oranges––but feel free to experiment with whatever looks good at the market (persimmons are great here). It wouldn’t be a cold weather menu without soup, of course; this pear and parsnip recipe is one of my favorites. A finish of rosemary salt makes it feel special but it’s really so simple to do. The roast chicken is spatchcocked, which is one of my favorite ways to do it––it cooks the chicken quickly and evenly. Plus, I have a special technique for making the skin extra-crispy. As far as dessert goes, I’ve become known for serving it family-style. I just love the idea of everyone grabbing a spoon and digging in together. This cookie skillet is straight out of my dreams: A gooey, incredibly chocolate-y cookie the size of my head, topped with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel.
Make caramel up to a week before the dinner. Make ice cream base the day before, or not at all if you prefer to use store-bought. Make the sangria and soup the day before. Roast veggies to serve with chicken the morning of, and reheat in a super-hot oven (this is called “flashing”) just before serving. Bake cookie cake the day of, and reheat gently while dinner is being eaten. Roast chicken prior to serving.