Want to expand chicken options on catering menu

Joined Feb 16, 2017
Hello, new to member of chef talk, but have visited a few times and really like the community feel so I decided to join and ask for help!

I operate a small 75 year family owned tavern that also off-premise caters.  My catering side of the business has been picking up immensely the last 2 years.  While I have been in the restaurant/banquet business for almost 20 years, my experience is mostly FOH and back office and only in 2 places, neither of which had a lot of creativity.  Anyhoo, my catering menu is small and I want to slowly add options due to the fact that I solely receive repeat business and referrals (I do not advertise our catering service at all).

Something I want to expand on is chicken dishes.  The only chicken option I offer right now is something we call Chicken Gran Marnier (also seen it as Apricot Chicken).  it consists of boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 4-5 oz pieces.  I grill the chicken just long enough to mark it up then finish in the oven.  Then cooled and put into a vinegar, apricot jam, spicy brown mustard, Gran Marnier, and red pepper flake mixture. Then reheated just prior to serving.  It is received very well and always comes out great. 

I am looking for simple, minimal labor alternatives.  I am in a region where most people are happy with broasted chicken and mostaccioli buffets, so I am not looking for anything ultra fancy. More comfort food type, or something with an Italian flair since my business bears my last name which is Italian! I generally feed 100-300 people parties and do have some limited space and equipment due to the fact the my main kitchen is usually hopping with our everyday tavern menu.  Most of my catering menu is prepped the day before or day of and baked off in large pizza ovens, tossed into cambros and away we go! 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
One of my most requested chicken dishes has it simmered and served in a creole type sauce (in fact I did it this past weekend with a pork loin sliced 1/2 inch thick then pounded a bit) that has always been a big hit.

Simple enuf to make with tomatoes and the trinity...thyme, bay leaf, maybe a little cayenne (or a lot ;-).

Using a skillet with high sides flash the breasts for color then deglaze with either low salt (chicken) broth or white wine.

Add the breasts back in and cover with foil then into the oven until the breasts reach 155-160 degrees, remove the breasts and flash cool (retains the moisture).

Wrap tight and reheat in sauce at the venue.

Garnish with a mix of parsley and green onions sliced thin.

Goes great with rice or mashers.... or dare I say it..... grits?

Every caterer worth their salt needs to have a good chix salad recipe in their hip pocket.

Not talking cold sliced breast served on salad greens ...the real deal (huge favorite with the garden club ladies lol ;-)

Poach the breasts then flash cool and cut in smallish chunks....bind with whatever is popular in your area (I use a good mayo with a tiny dollop of spicy mustard and a few finely chopped herbs).

Finely chopped celery...shallots or some sweet Texas 1015 also chopped small.

Peel and chunk apples or my favorite... halved grapes (my sister peels them...I would go mad).

Portion with an ice cream scoop and garnish with toasted nuts (chopped).

This recipe can be tweaked many different ways.

A Chinese approach (think toasted sesame seeds for instance) is nice with water chestnuts...altho you would still need something a bit sweet in the mix.

IMO you can never go wrong with something pounded flat slathered with some sort of filling and rolled up.

Secure with cotton string then brown in a neutral oil (50/50 oil and clarified butter is tasty) flash cool and then the day of braise in whatever sauce suits the rest of the menu (I do this with beef, Italian style).

Don't forget the cut the string when assembling the plates lol.

Whenever I felt my menu was getting stale I would always reach for my "church ladies" cookbooks.

Thanks to the eternal ego of those queens of the kitchens I was almost always successful in my search.

Had to jazz things up on occasion but the same is true for many recipes... I always try to put my stamp on the dishes I "borrow" from others.

There you go...a couple of unpretentious but still tasty chix preparations that can be altered to suit the occasion as well as your style.

Hope they help....



I haven't had broasted chix in DECADES....

Will have to google search the Houston area...surely there is ONE.



Edit to add....welcome to Chef Talk....as far as I know it is the longest continuously running site of it's kind.

A large number of the original membership are still active.

The stored info...priceless.

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Joined Feb 8, 2009
In many cases it all depends on if it's a buffet or sit down dinner. I think a Chicken medallions scallopini, Chicken Marsala and chicken Parmigiana and maybe a Chicken Cacciatore would hold and present well. All these can be served with a side of linguini or just about any pasta. At one time you couldn't drive down a street in America without seeing a sign of Broasted Chicken and JoJos.  You could do some oldies but Goodies like Chicken Cordon bleu and Chicken Kiev both being blast from the past. I always want a catered chicken dish to have some kind of sauce to keep it moist. Chicken also excepts marinades and brines real well. If your wanting to use chicken more in your catering you may want to think about brining. This will help put more moisture into the chicken. The picture below is a Cilantro Lime chicken thighs that would also present well.........Good Luck

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