I answered this message over at the Growlies Recipe Exchange and Party Planning Board yesterday:
I just got assigned to do the menu/food for Christmas dinner for 350 people. I have decided to have chili/chili beans. Now, what goes with that? Green salad? Yikes. Help, please!While suppose there's no limit to chili partners, I like to limit side dishes to those that complement chili's bold (and sometimes rough) character.
My menu relies on sides that help cool the harsh bite from the hot chili peppers. Everyone knows that a dollop of sour cream will tame those out-of-control capsicums. The musty blue cheese in the roasted corn salad and a creamy cucumber and tomato salad has the same effect.
Tradition plays an equally important role in matching sides to a hot dish of chili. Who doesn't look forward to a nice bite of cornbread with each spoonful of chili? So, why not bake the quick bread in a rustic cast iron skillet or Dutch oven?
Round the menu with a complete line-up of condements and those ever-present torilla chips and guacamole and you have the makings for a well-rounded chili party.
Here's my menu:
- Cornbread baked in cast iron skillets or Dutch ovens
- Roasted corn and jalapeno salad with blue cheese
- Creamy cucumber and tomato salad
- Classic guacamole with tortilla chips
- All the condiments: sour cream, grated cheeses, chopped onions, chopped chili peppers, salsa, chopped cilantro, etc.