Help with Winter Dinner Party Menu

Joined Jan 8, 2010
Hi all.

I am looking to have a dinner party for 8 in late February (three course). Other than my wife and I, I would not describe the group as "foodie." I am thinking of going with filet mignon (or would someone recommend a chateaubriand), possibly with mushrooms. A few questions:

First.... is it filet or fillet? :) I see both ways.

The timing... this seems to be one of the harder items to master (I am planning on doing a scaled down run through prior). Am I able to pan sear (assuming filets) prior and keep them for any length of time and then finish them in the oven immediately before serving? If so, how far ahead can I sear them? What would be some suggested sides for this meal that would bring in seasonal items and work easily with the timing? I see asparagus a lot, but that isn't really a winter vegetable even in warm Arizona.

I am a pinot noir fan, would this be an ok pairing? I was thinking the earthiness of the mushrooms and the wine would work well.... or would the pinot be lost?

As for the first course I would ideally like something that can be done earlier in the day, salad? scallops? carpaccio (too much beef?)

In general, would you go for a heavier dessert or a lighter one here?

Thanks all, great forum, I'm surprised it too me so long to find it!
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Seafood Ap or possibly winter squash soup

fillet with shrooms
potato something or other
green veg

salad, bose pears are a nice addition

I would not go heavy.....chocolate mousse you can make before hand
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Agree with Shrooms apps - you can prep especially the soup before and re-heat.

Main...could try for a beef wellington - do you know your guests preferences for doneness of meat? Mark the pastry so you know which is rare, medium etc (in recent thread from Bughut) and can be kept in fridge until ready to rock and roll.

Dessert....something we've rediscovered lately is fruit crumble. Can be done well ahead
then heated when needed. Either individual or in one big one (I prefer individual if you have the dishes). Then a great big blob of Icecream on top :)
Joined Feb 1, 2007
To answer one of your questions, both filet and fillet are correct. Most of the time, filet is used to describe beef, but I've seen it both ways.

It's mostly when discussing fish that the two get used interchangeably.

Adding to the confusion are those who insist (incorrectly) that filet is the noun form and fillet the verb. For them: "I filleted the fish, then cooked the filet in a skillet," would be correct usage. Gimme a break!

Anyway, for the main meal: A heavy beef dinner crys out for a seafood appetizer. I'm kind of partial to something like Shrimp & Canteloupe with Mayonaisse Charles if you can find a decent melon. If not, maybe Scallops with Braised Lentils, or, if you're really ambitious, Seafood Lollipops with Peach Gastrique.

For a side, I'd likely go with roasted root veggies. A great alternative would be Michael Symon's Fried Brussels Sprouts. For dessert, poached peaches with raspberry-chocolate sauce.

Can't help you with the beef. I'm one of those who think filet mignon is over-rated, and never cook it myself. Not when there's rib-eye in the world (which not only tastes better, IMO, but is considerably less expensive).

Whoops! Above should have been poached pears, not peaches. Sorry.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I'm also not a fan of the filet, but it's easy to cook as long as you don't overcook it. I like the idea of the wellington.

For a starch how about pan roasted potatoes in duck fat? For a vegetable you can make some roasted carrots, I have a great recipe that incorporates cumin and coriander.

Personally I like to serve salads as well, maybe a nice frisee salad or radiccio with blue cheese and candied almonds.

Since it's winter it's ok to serve a heavy dessert, I would bo for a bread pudding or anytnhing else that could be served warm alongside a steaming cup of coffee with bailey's irish cream in it. :smokin Or you can make individual creme caramels or creme brulees.

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