This hearty midwinter's meal showcases the bounty of the season and pairs especially well with a crackling fire.
In Good Company
The sign of a successful dinner party isn't necessarily a scraped-clean plate. Rather, it's the unapologetic lingering that follows a satisfying meal—the warm, fuzzy, let's-stay-a-little-longer glow that stems from good conversation (and, okay, good wine). Consider this casually elegant four-course menu a delicious backdrop for just that.
Here's another reason to bubble over with excitement: We partnered with Minted to create custom paper goods for each of our parties, all designed by Southerners. In addition to invitations, you'll find banners, centerpieces, stickers, and more at minted.com/el/southernliving
Set the Scene
Red and green? So predictable. Create a rustic wonderland with this understated palette of gold, brown, and cream, which allows the rich texture of a cypress topiary and birch candle pillars to take center stage.
For an easy centerpiece, chisel a shallow cavity into a birch log. Insert a pillar candle into the indentation, and wrap with twigs and moss to finish the earthy look.
Sweet Potato Soup
Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup
Make the soup through Step 2 the day before. Reheat, and stir in the lime juice before serving.
Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad
Recipe: Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad
For a more pungent flavor in this classic salad, use gorgonzola cheese.
Cranberry Roasted Winter Vegetables
A medley of roasted vegetables including carrots and turnips combine with Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and a drizzle of molasses in one delicious side dish.
Pork Roast with Sweet Onion-Pumpkin Seed Relish
Be sure to ask your butcher to cut out the chine bone and to French the rib rack for easy carving and an elegant presentation.
Wild Rice with Bacon and Fennel
Recipe: Wild Rice with Bacon and Fennel
For this earthy salad, make sure to use wild rice, not a blend, to get a nice chewy texture.
Recipe: Gingerbread Soufflés
This impressive dessert isn't difficult, but do plan ahead. Preheat the oven, and just before sitting down to dinner, pop the soufflés in. When done, serve them all puffed up and gorgeous.
Shop the Party
1. Rustic cable sweaters, $69; llbean.com
2. Anna Weatherly mushroom hors d'oeuvre plates, $294; devinecorp.net
3. Brown sugar eau de parfum, $80; fresh.com
4. Alpaca fringed throw, $248; pendleton-usa.com
5. Hudson Baby Bourbon whiskey, $40; tuthilltown.com
6. Cole Haan Cora wedge boot, $398; zappos.com
7. Winter wrap, $328; jcrew.com
8. Lemon cypress topiary, $13; leafnpetal.com
9. Mauviel M'Heritage copper butter melters, $81/each; surlatable.com
Set the Mood
Download our party playlist and get started on the right note:
- Church (Live), Lyle Lovett
- Winter Winds, Mumford & Sons
- Please Come Home for Christmas, Harry Connick, Jr.
- Jingle Bell Jamboree, Keb Mo
- Blue Christmas, Dean Martin
- The Christmas Song, Hootie & The Blowfish
- Baby It's Cold Outside, She & Him
- Sleigh Ride, Diana Krall
- I've Got My Love to Keep Warm, Kay Starr (STUHR remix)
- Winter Wonderland, Jason Mraz