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Simple supper buffets.

These four dishes are easy on the host...and designed to please a crowd

Let's get together around the holidays" is an easy invitation to extend when you have the right menu. Here are four main dishes that adapt well to buffet service and need only simple accompaniments to complete the menu.

Expandable chili

Suitable for a crowd of any size, this easily multiplied chili recipe combines fresh ingredients with canned chili. Guests choose condiments to suit their tastes. Round out the menu with a salad, tortilla chips, and melted nacho cheese. Serve your favorite dessert, or have your guests contribute theirs.

Expandable Chili with Condiments

1 pound ground lean beef or pork

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

3 tablespoons chili powder or ground New Mexico or California chilies

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can (28 oz.) cut tomatoes or whole pear-shaped tomatoes, cut up

1 large can (7 oz.) diced green chilies (optional)

1 cans (15 oz. each) chili with beans (or pinto beans, drained)

Condiments (choices follow)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan (a 5- to 6-qt. pan for a double recipe, 6- to 8-qt. pan for a triple recipe), stir beef occasionally over high heat until browned and crumbly, 10 to 20 minutes. Add onion and garlic; stir until limp, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin.

Add tomatoes and their juices, green chilies, and chili with beans. Bring to a boil; then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard fat. (If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to a day. Reheat to serve.) Ladle into bowls; offer condiments to add to taste. Makes 2 quarts, or 8 servings, 1 cup each.

Per plain serving: 299 cal.; 17 g protein; 18 g fat (7.1 g sat.); 19 g carbo.; 748 mg sodium; 59 mg chol.

Condiments. For each serving, allow 1/4 cup condiments. Choose from shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onion, fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, sour cream, pitted and diced firm-ripe avocado coated with lemon juice, and 2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh or canned jalapeno chilies.

Supper pie

Supper under a crust is an old favorite. This version offers preparation and reheating options that stretch over 3 days. Complete the meal with a salad and a hearty bread.

Green Chili and Beef Pie

Green chili and beef filling (recipe follows)

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Cream cheese pastry (recipe follows) or 1 unbaked crust for a 9-inch pie, laid flat

1 large egg, beaten to blend

Pour filling into a 9-inch pie pan or dish. If making ahead, cover and chill up to a day; sprinkle with cheese.

On a lightly floured board, roll pastry into a 10-inch-diameter round. With a cookie cutter, cut 1 or 2 pieces from center of pastry or unbaked pie crust (see photograph above); reserve the cutouts.

Lay pastry over filling, fold edges under and flush with pan rim, and flute firmly against rim; top with cutouts. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days if filling is fresh, 1 day if filling was made the day before.

Set pie in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan, and brush pastry and cutouts with egg. Bake in a 400|degrees~ oven on the lowest rack until pastry is well browned and filling is hot in center, 40 to 55 minutes. If pastry rim and cutouts darken excessively before center is brown, drape rim and cover cutouts with foil.

Serve the baked pie or cool, cover airtight, and chill up to a day. Reheat pie, uncovered, in a 350|degrees~ oven until filling is hot in center, 30 to 40 minutes; lay foil over crust if it begins to darken too much. Spoon from dish. Makes 8 or 9 servings.

Per serving: 447 cal.; 30 g protein; 24 g fat (2.8 g sat.); 27 g carbo.; 684 mg sodium; 155 mg chol.

Cream cheese pastry. In a food processor or bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, in chunks; and 1/3 cup (about 3 oz.) neufchatel (light cream) cheese. Whirl or rub with fingers until coarse crumbs form. Add 1 large egg; whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Pat into a ball. If making ahead, chill airtight up to 3 days.

Green Chili and Beef Filling

2 pounds beef skirt steak or boned chuck, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn kernels

1 can (7 oz.) diced green chilies

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup regular-strength beef broth

Place meat, onion, soy, 2 tablespoons water, garlic, and oregano in a 4- to 5-quart pan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat; let simmer for 30 minutes.

Uncover; boil over high heat until juices evaporate. When meat sizzles, add 1/4 cup water and stir to release browned bits; when liquid evaporates, repeat procedure once. Then add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender when pierced, about 30 minutes. Stir in the corn and green chilies.

Mix cornstarch with broth. Add about 2/3 of the mixture to meat and stir until boiling. Let cool; stir in remaining mixture. Use to fill pie, preceding.

Santa Fe stew

Based on a feast-day dish enjoyed by local Indians, Santa Fe pozole is a hearty stew of pork, chilies, and dried corn that's popular throughout New Mexico. Santa Fe pozole is festive but less complex than its Mexican counterpart. Flour tortillas and a green salad make easy accompaniments.

Look for the chilies and pozole (dried corn--canned hominy is the easy alternative) in supermarkets or Mexican groceries. If pozole is moist-packed, it will be refrigerated or frozen.

Santa Fe Pozole

3 cups dried pozole or 4 1/2 cups moist-packed pozole (also called nixtamal; thaw if frozen), rinsed well; or 2 cans (1 lb. 13 oz. each) hominy, drained

About 3 quarts regular-strength chicken broth

2 1/2 pounds boned pork shoulder or butt (fat trimmed), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 medium-size onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons ground dried New Mexico or California chilies, or chili powder

1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano leaves and pepper

Roasted chilies (directions follow) or 1 can (7 oz.) diced green chilies


Sour cream and green onions (optional)

If using pozole (or nixtamal), fill a 5- to 6-quart pan about 2/3 full with water. Add pozole and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 5 minutes, then drain.

Add 8 cups broth to pozole. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until kernels are just tender to bite, about 2 hours. As needed, add water to keep kernels covered by 1/2 inch. (Omit these steps if you're using hominy.)

In another 5- to 6-quart pan, combine pork, onion, garlic, ground chilies, oregano, pepper, and 1 cup broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer rapidly on medium heat for 30 minutes.

Uncover pan; stir often on medium-high heat until broth evaporates, meat is streaked with brown, and drippings are a rich brown. Add 1 cup broth and stir drippings free. Add pozole and liquid (or hominy and 8 cups broth), and roasted chilies. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer gently until pork is very tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. Measure pozole and add enough broth to make a total of about 14 cups.

If making ahead, cool, then cover and chill up to 3 days; reheat until simmering. Ladle pozole into bowls. Add salt, sour cream, and green onions to taste. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 485 cal.; 24 g protein; 28 g fat (9.5 g sat.); 33 g carbo.; 740 mg sodium; 79 mg chol.

Roasted chilies. Place 1 pound fresh poblano (sometimes called pasilla) or Anaheim (California) chilies in a rimmed 10- by 15-inch pan. Broil 2 to 3 inches below heat until skins are charred, about 7 minutes. Turn chilies; broil until charred, about 4 minutes longer. Drape with foil and let cool. Pull off and discard skins, stems, and seeds; rinse chilies and chop.

Seafood chowder

This filling but lean chowder, packed with seafood and corn, is easy to eat standing up. For a simple walk-around dinner party, set out chowder with breadsticks and a platter of raw vegetables--bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and Belgian endive--to dip into homemade or purchased dressing. Serve a selection of Christmas cookies and seasonal fruit for dessert.

The chowder's base can be completed a day ahead. Shortly before serving, thicken the soup and add seafood.

Seafood Corn Chowder

2 medium-size (about 3/4 lb. total) onions, finely chopped

About 11 cups regular-strength chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

6 cups (about 2 1/2 lb.) peeled and shredded thin-skinned potatoes

3 tablespoons cornstarch blended smoothly with 3 tablespoons water

5 cups nonfat or whole milk

3 packages (10 oz. each) frozen corn kernels

1 jar (10 oz.) shucked fresh oysters, cut into bite-size pieces, and juices; or 2 cans (6 1/2 oz. each) chopped clams and juices

1 pound cooked shelled crab or tiny cooked shelled shrimp

2 tablespoons minced parsley

In an 8- to 10-quart pan, combine onions and 1/2 cup broth. Boil uncovered on high heat, stirring often, until liquid evaporates and onions start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. To deglaze, add 1/3 cup broth, then stir to release browned bits. Stir occasionally until liquid evaporates and mixture begins to brown again, 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat deglazing step until onions are a rich brown, about 3 more times.

Add 3 cups broth, garlic, pepper, and thyme. Boil on high heat, uncovered, until mixture is reduced to 3 cups, about 25 minutes; stir often. Add potatoes; simmer uncovered, stirring often, until tender to bite, about 30 minutes. If making ahead, cover and chill up to a day.

Stir in 6 cups broth, cornstarch mixture, milk, and corn; stir often on medium-high heat just until boiling, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, then add oysters and crab. Pour into a tureen; sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 quarts, 12 to 14 servings.

Per serving: 237 cal.; 16 g protein; 3.1 g fat (0.7 g sat.); 37 g carbo.; 210 mg sodium; 45 mg chol.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; recipes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Showpiece roasts ... beef, lamb, and pork.
Next Article:Merry citrus!

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