Swedish meatballs, Jansson's temptation (a potato, cream, and onion gratin with...shhhh...anchovies),
This is terrible but there was a third appetizer, a puff pastry palmier filled with fig jam and prosciutto. They were on the baking sheet to cool down enough to plate them- that fig jam is like molten lava out of the oven- and people just started eating them right off the pan. Whatever- one less dish to wash
Our first seated course was parsnip and leek puree garnished with a drizzle of heavy cream, chives, and chopped smoked almonds for a little textural pop as well as an interesting additional flavor. It was quite good and light enough not to cloy the palate.
For the main course, I bought some big-ass pork shoulder roasts, seasoned them up really well the night before with salt, pepper, and Penzey's Bavarian Blend, and then seared them off and roasted the heck out of them. I believe they were in the oven for about 5 hours at 325' The awesome thing about pork shoulder for a party, is, well, number one it is super cheap, especially compared to prime rib or goose. Two, is it simply cannot be overcooked. These are the cuts they use in real BBQ where the things smoke for upwards of 24 hours. You can under cook it, but not if you're paying attention! Third, it's a breeze to slice and serve. No elaborate and messy carving ritual. Four, these days pork is so lean, people are really surprised and pleased at the fatty succulence and fall-apart tenderness of the shoulder. Five (!) leftovers are versatile. Great for Cuban or shredded bbq sandwiches.
The pork was served with a luscious gravy, spaetzle, braised red cabbage with bacon and nice warm spices, and simple steamed haricots vert and julienned carrots.
To end on a lighter note, a cranberry orange Bavarian. That's a jellyroll filled with homemade cranberry jam around and over an orange cream filling, with Grand Marnier and juicy orange segments. This is kind of an old fashioned dessert- it has gelatin in it (not jello- eeeew)- but I was happy with it because it not only can, it has to be made the day ahead, and it's a refreshing conclusion to a heavy meal, with seasonal flavors.