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Your step-by-step New Year’s Eve Cooking Plan

If you’ve been following along with the 2018 always use butter New Year’s Eve menu you know you have a great dinner in front of you. Now all that’s left is to pull it off… But don’t worry! I’m here to help – and over the next few paragraphs, I’ll do just that.

The New Year’s Menu & Wine Pairings

Shall we start with a quick re-cap of our menu?

rum-spiked smoked salmon tartare

Appetizer: Rum-spiked Smoked Salmon Tartare

Wine pairing: Dry sparkling wine, and if there’s anywhere during the New Year’s night you should splurge, it’s here! At midnight after a few glasses of wine you’ll definitely not appreciate it as much.

For Champagne I suggest the 2012 Palmer & Co Vintage Brut (7867) and for a Cava this Cava Blanc de Noir (7610). For non-alcoholic go for a dry non-alcoholic sparkling wine or a dry Kombucha.

duck a lorange duck in orange sauce sliced on a wooden chopping board

Main course: Honey-glazed Duck a l’Orange with Crispy Garlic Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Wine pairing: For red – anything Valpolicella. In I suggest a 2012 Masi Costasera Amarone (#2345) for those with a large budget, and a 2016 Tommasi Graticcio Appassionato (#5354) for the rest of us.

crispy garlic parmesan smashed potatoes on an oven tray

For white – go rich and a bit acidic. Like a 2017 Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay (#6299) or a 2017 Couvent des Jacobins Bourgogne Blanc (#5798).

If going non-alcoholic I recommend a high-quality apple juice like Jus de Pommes Artisanal Pétillant (#1990).

passion fruit gino - passion fruit & white chocolate fruit bake

Dessert: Passion Fruit Gino

Wine pairing: I like a semi-sweet sparkling wine like 2017 Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti Nivole (#7787). For non-alcoholic, keep the Jus de Pommes Artisanal Pétillant (#1990) from the main course.

How to Prep Your New Year’s Eve Dinner

As promised, this is a menu that will allow you to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen. For this to be possible you do however need to do a bit of prep beforehand instead. Prep is the home chef’s (or any chef’s!) best friend, so don’t cheat!

The numbers next to your prep shows which step or steps of the recipe this refers to – I suggest printing them all out so you can check things off as you move along.

The same day – any time (30 minutes)

  1. Prep the appetizer – Rum-spiked Smoked Salmon Tartare: Follow the instructions for frying the capers (step #1-5) and preparing the Salmon Tartare (step #1-2). Cover and place in the fridge for now. – 20 minutes
  2. Prep the dessert – Passion Fruit Gino: Follow instruction steps #1-4, cover and place in the fridge for now. – 10 minutes

passion fruit gino fruit bake with passion fruit and white chocolate

As close to your guests’ arrival as possible (45 minutes or less)

  1. Cook the potatoes for your Smashed Potatoes and heat up the oven (step #1-2) – 20 minutes
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, render off the fat of the duck and place it on your oven tray. Cover and set aside for now. (step #2-4 for Duck a l’Orange) – (15 minutes)
  3. Make the orange sauce for the duck, pour into a container, cover and set aside for now. (step #5) – 10 minutes
  4. While the orange sauce is reducing, place the potatoes on your oven tray and smash them, then melt the butter and brush the potatoes with it. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out, cover, and set aside for now. (step #3-4) – 20 minutes

duck breasts skin side down on an oven tray, for duck a l orange duck in orange sauce

Just before your guests arrive – no more than 30 minutes before dinner (10 minutes)

  1. Plate the appetizer (step #1-2 under “Plating” for Rum-spiked Smoked Salmon Tartare)

rum-spiked smoked salmon tartare top down view

Just before you sit down to eat your appetizer (1 minute active work)

  1. Make sure the oven is heated to 175 C/350F. Glaze the duck with the orange sauce, stick a meat thermometer in the thickest piece and place in the middle of the oven. (step #1-2 under “Finishing the duck breasts”)

After you’ve finished your appetizer (assuming you finish it in 10 minutes or so) (a few minutes active work)

  1. Bring the duck out and glaze it again. If it’s not yet at the correct temperature, stick it back in the oven.  (step #2 under “Finishing the duck breasts”)
  2. When the duck has reached your desired temperature, take it out and wrap it in foil. (step #3 under “Finishing the duck breasts”)
  3. Turn the heat up to 225 C/440F. Top the Smashed Potatoes with parmesan and when the oven is at the right temperature stick them in the oven for 5-7 minutes. (step #5 for Smashed Potatoes ) Meanwhile, heat up the orange sauce. With a minute or so left for the potatoes, slice the duck. (step #3 under “Finishing the duck breasts”. Top the smashed potatoes with parsley (step #6), plate potatoes, duck and orange sauce, and serve.

duck a lorange duck in orange sauce cut up on a wooden chopping board

10 minutes before dessert – 1 minute active work

  1. Make sure the oven is heated to 225C / 440 F.
  2. Take out the ice cream to let it soften.
  3. Place the Gino in the middle of the oven, uncovered, and bake for 5 minutes.
  4. Set the oven to “grill” and bake for another 5.
  5. When chocolate has melted and browned slightly, take it out and serve with vanilla ice cream.

And that’s all there is to it! Now if you’re me you’re probably adding a cheese platter after this as well, and maybe some hot shots… but I’ll leave the preparation of that over to you (hint: no prep needed, just make it right before serving).

How did you like this step-by-step guide, and the 2018 always use butter New Year’s Eve menu? Please let me know in the comments! And if you have any questions – drop a note here or find me on Instagram.

Best of luck and Happy New Year!



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