Spread the word of love this Valentine’s Day in a less conventional way: host a Palentine’s potluck. Invite friends over for a potluck that feels celebratory and special. Make it cozy: Cook a big pot of warming coq au vin and ask guests to provide the rest of the meal, from a buttery mashed potatoes to rich crème brûlée for dessert. Shake up some cocktails and raise a toast to good friends.
As the party host, you can take charge of the main course. Coq au vin blanc is rich, comforting, and worthy of a special occasion—and it’s also ideal for making ahead, so you won’t have to feel rushed on the day of the party.
Mix a classic cocktail (we like a Martini or, for something unexpected, this Elderflower White Cosmopolitan). Then ask friends to contribute different dishes to complete the meal. Shrimp cocktail is perfect for an hors d’oeuvre, and it’s easy to prep in advance, too: cook the shrimp in advance; let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Round out the meal with simple, seasonal side dishes. This brussels sprout and arugula salad can be assembled ahead, then dressed just before serving. Roasted broccolini is deliciously bright when cooked with just lemon and garlic. And be sure to put someone you trust in charge of mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious juices from the coq au vin.
Finally, for dessert, go all out with silky, creamy crème brûlée. It may sound strange for a potluck, but it actually works like a charm: you can make and refrigerate the custards and oranges separately, then caramelize the tops just before serving.
For a seamless, stress-free Palentine’s, aim for this breakdown:
- 1 to 2 days ahead: Set the table and make the coq au vin. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Day of the party: Mix the cocktails, sit back, and enjoy the party!
Send friends home with a sweet party favor that has a sense of humor. (These sour heart candies say it all.) And don’t forget to print out our valentines—they’re guaranteed to put a smile on guests’ faces. Set out some pens so everyone can write their own personal notes.
Design your party playlist potluck-style, too. Ask each friend to contribute a few songs, and you create a soundtrack for the dinner. Skip the sappy songs—dance tunes encouraged.