How To Entertain This Month With Alexandra Dudley
How To Entertain This Month With Alexandra Dudley

How To Entertain This Month With Alexandra Dudley

Alexandra Dudley is a food columnist, cookbook author and host of the Come For Supper podcast. In this monthly column, she shares delicious recipes for chic entertaining. This time, it’s a simple, baked chicken dish – plus an impressive burnt butter tart.
By Alexandra Dudley

The best dinner party dishes are those that don’t need too much attention, so the host can enjoy cocktails and the chatter as much as everyone else. I often make a variation of this menu when entertaining – starring a one-tray chicken dish paired with nutty sweet squash and a lazy parsley oil. I’ve also shared my recipe for a browned butter bourbon pecan pie, which you could make even simpler if you use ready-rolled pastry. I tend to make my tart the night before so that I have little more to do on the night than slap on some lipstick and find my best shoes. Serve it with a good fruity red wine. I love this one from Drink Amie.


Baked Chicken & Leeks With White Wine & Sage

This is a simple one-tray dish that can be thrown together at a moment’s notice and requires zero marinating. Everything is tossed together, with the chicken cooked on top of the leeks. The beauty of cooking the chicken and vegetables this way is that, as the chicken cooks, its wonderful juices sink down into the vegetables (I love leeks, but fennel works well too). The result is golden crispy skin, tender meat and buttery soft leeks.

Total Time
1 Hour
6 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
6 leeks
1 lemon
1 tbsp of fresh thyme
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of salt flakes
1 tbsp of pink peppercorns
½ bunch of sage
2 tsp of olive oil
1 glass of white wine
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the leeks into 3cm chunks and toss into a large ovenproof dish. Chop the lemon into thin wedges and add to the leeks. Add the salt, oregano, pink peppercorns, sage, oil, chicken and wine. Toss well, then rearrange the chicken, skin side up.

Step 2

Bake for 45 minutes, until the chicken skin is golden and leeks are soft.

Step 3

I love to serve this with roasted squash or sweet potatoes and a leafy green salad.

Roasted Squash With Parsley Oil

This simple side is always a crowd pleaser. Use any squash you like. My favourites are acorn squash, onion squash and crown prince squash but a butternut squash will do just fine. Use any excess parsley oil to spoon over the chicken or keep it to drizzle over salads, pasta or eggs.  

Total Time
1 Hour
2 small acorn, onion or crown prince squash, or 1 butternut squash
For the oil:
1 bunch of parsley
½ garlic clove, grated
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt
Olive oil
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the squash in half, spoon out the seeds and chop into wedges. Place onto a baking tray and back for 45 minutes until charred.

Step 2

Roughly chop the leaves of the parsley, add the grated garlic, lemon juice, salt and enough olive to form a spoon-able consistency.

Step 3

Serve warm with the parsley oil drizzled on top.

Brown Butter Pecan Tart

A buttery rich nutty tart with a subtle kick of bourbon, this tart is wonderful for a winter dinner party. I tend to make my tart the evening before so it has ample time to settle. For an added touch, stir an additional tablespoon of bourbon through your double cream before serving.

Total Time
2 Hours 30 Minutes
For the pastry:
220g of white spelt or plain flour
20g of icing sugar
1 pinch of fine sea salt
130g of cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tsp of ice-cold water
For the filling:
100g of butter
125g of dark brown soft sugar
180g of golden syrup
100g of maple syrup
2 tbsp of bourbon whiskey
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ tsp of sea salt
260g of whole pecans
Double cream or vanilla ice-cream to serve
Step 1

For the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Add more water if needed.

Step 2

Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll the pastry until it is about the thickness of a £1 coin. Line a loose bottomed fluted tart dish (23cm wide and 4cm deep) with the pastry. Trim the edges and gently prick the base with a fork (making sure you don’t puncture the pastry). Place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours (or place in the freezer for 30 minutes if short of time).

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan. Line the chilled tart shell with baking parchment, and blind bake the pastry. Fill with ceramic baking beans or rice (you can reuse the rice over and over for this method). Bake for 20 minutes then remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden and the base has dried out. Allow to cool while you brown the butter.

Step 4

Melt the butter in a small-medium saucepan over a medium heat swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter smells nutty and is golden brown. You should see some small brown flecks in the base of the saucepan. Take the butter off the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool. Try to leave as much of the brown sediment in the pan as possible.

Step 5

Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add the brown sugar, syrups, bourbon, vanilla and salt. Then whisk in the eggs.

Step 6

Sprinkle the pecans evenly into the tart shell, then pour the syrup over.

Step 7

Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 50 minutes until just set. The tart should still wobble. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 8

Serve with double cream or good vanilla ice-cream.

For more from Alexandra, follow her @AlexandraDudley or visit

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