Back to Blog

Best Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

The holidays are right around the corner, and you know what that means…. parties, parties and more parties!  Whether you’re hosting or bringing, we’ve got you covered with this season’s most delicious hors d’oeuvre recipes, including: Polenta Bites with Mushroom Duxelle; Chevre & Fig Jam Tartlettes; Gruyere & Red Pepper Jelly Tartlettes & Poached Shrimp with Assorted Dipping Sauces. Your guests will think you hired a caterer!


Chevre & Fig Jam 

Gruyere & Red Pepper Jelly

Brie & Apricot Jam or Cranberry Sauce

These gorgeous tarts are actually a breeze to make.  Simply start with phyllo tart shells and add a teaspoon (or more) of cheese, followed by the jam or jelly. Bake for 5 minutes at 350o or until cheese has melted. Garnish with chopped toasted almonds, hazelnuts or pistachio’s if you’d like.   

Poached Shrimp with Assorted Dipping Sauces

Everyone loves shrimp cocktail!  Offer a big platter of chilled shrimp garnished with lemon and crisp flat leaf Italian parsley. Accompany this with our assortment of delicious and easy to make dipping sauces, and you’re guaranteed to please!

Follow our recipe for poached shrimp using a court bouillon for the most flavorful shrimp you’ve ever had!

Court Bouillon

8 C. cold water

2 C. white wine

2 medium carrots, peeled and quartered

2 stalks celery, quartered

1 large onion, quartered

1 head garlic, halved

1 lemon, halved

½  bunch flat leaf parsley

1 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning

2 bay leaves

1 lb. large (26-30 per pound) uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

Bring all ingredients, except shrimp to a boil in a large pot. Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes (depending on the size) or until shrimp are pink.  Remove from the poaching liquid, and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  Remove shrimp once they’ve cooled, sprinkle them with fresh lemon juice and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Shrimp can be made 1 day in advance. The poaching liquid can be frozen for future use.

Sweet Thai Chile Cocktail Sauce

Combine ½ C. cocktail sauce with 1 Tbs. sweet Thai chile sauce

Curried Mustard Sauce

 2 Tbs. mayonnaise

1 tsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. curry powder

2 Tbs. water 

Combine all ingredients, and thin with more water if needed.

Creamy Lemon and Dill sauce

1 C. mayonnaise 

1 C. sour cream 

2 tsp. lemon juice 

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 tsp. prepared horseradish 

2 tsp. chopped fresh dill 

1 scallion, chopped 

salt and pepper to taste 

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper as needed. Can be made 1 day in advance.

Alternate this recipe, if you’d like, by adding 3 Tbs of ketchup to the mix. Yum!

Polenta Bites with Mushroom Duxelle

The polenta is a 2 step process.  First cook the polenta, and once it’s cooled, grill it up and serve with a spoonful of mushroom duxelle.  A food processor makes quick work of the, sometimes, tedious preparation of this French classic—just be sure not to over process or you’ll end up with a mushy mess.


¾ C. quick cooking polenta

3 C. canned chicken stock (you can also use vegetable stock)

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for pan

¼ C. olive oil, for grilling or pan searing

In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat, and slowly whisk in the polenta and season with pepper. Continue to whisk until the mixture starts to tighten up, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add  butter and Parmesan. Continue to stir until well combined and very thick, taste for seasoning adjustment.

Liberally butter a cookie sheet with sides.  Pour the hot polenta onto the cookie sheet using a rubber spatula.  Smooth out the top and set aside to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. (This can also be done up to 1 day ahead.)

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium.

When ready to grill, or pan fry, remove the polenta from the pan and cut it into small rounds or squares with a cookie cutter. Lightly oil a grill, brush each side of the polenta with olive oil and grill or pan sear until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. 

Let cool and store on parchment paper in an airtight container until ready to use.  (You can make these 2 days in advance)

Mushroom Duxelle

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

¼ C. finely chopped shallot

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb. assorted mushrooms, trimmed

2 tbs. dry sherry

Kosher salt

2 tbs. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Parmesan cheese for garnish

Using a food processor, pulse mushrooms until finely chopped, being careful not to over process.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, sherry and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until mushrooms have softened and released their liquid, about 7 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes more. Stir in parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Let cool completely. Can be made 2-3 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To serve:

Preheat oven to 350.  Place polenta pieces on either a Silpat mat or a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  

Add a spoonful of the mushroom duxelle, and cook for 3-5 minutes until polenta is warm.  Top with a thin shavings of or grated Parmesan cheese before serving.