Purim: Large Foods for Large Crowds

March 1, 2009


Have taken upon myself to make a Purim Seudah for 40 people BE”H. Never done that before. Any suggestions for a great seuda – things that taste great, look fantastic & take the minimum amount of time to prepare?

I’d appreciate your reply.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rivka, a Shabbat Shalom reader

Set TableThe ideal mid-week menu for 40 needs to have a lot of things that can be done in advance. That being said, this is a very special Seudah and a great time to have a fine meal with family, friends and community. This is also a year of wallet watching, so I won’t be recommending prime rib either. How about a dairy/pareve meal?What could I say, except “been there, done that!” That’s a lot of lunch for a lot of people, and right there in the middle of the week, too! I had to accept the challenge. In general, for large crowds, I make large food, like big bourekas, not individual ones, and cakes, not petit fours, etc.

The Eye of Haman bread I told you about last year serves 40. Make that ahead and freeze it if you like. Leave enough time to defrost it (4 hours) and heat it up right before serving, wrapped in foil paper, for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to about 350 degrees.

For the rest of the menu, how about –

  • Minestrone soup with parmesan croutons.
  • Potato and Cheese bourekas. (They are gorgeous. You’ll need about 5 or 6 of them.)
  • Oven Roasted Salmon with barbecue sauce.
  • Zucchini and Carrots with basil and garlic.
  • Rice Pilaf (Buy 3 of your favorite box mix, and make according to the instructions on the box, adding 2 more cups of basmati rice and 2 teaspoons of salt to the boxed ingredients, along with 4 more cups of water to the water mentioned in the instructions. Make this ½ hour before guests are schedule to arrive. When cooked, let it cool, covered, for 5 minutes, and then quickly use a large fork to scoop it into a serving bowl. Serve immediately or cover the bowl with foil and keep in a 250 oven or warming drawer until serving.
  • Pick up a big ice cream cake, decorated with crazy colors and clowns!
  • Hamentaschen (from the bakery, or maybe from your Mishloach Manot!)
  • A platter of cut-up citrus and other seasonal fruits.

© 2008 Debby Segura. Debby Segura holds an AB in Design from UCLA. She designs dinnerware and she teaches and writes about cooking. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. Visit her at www.debbysegura.com