19 bite-sized gems you need to Devour at your next cocktail party

We love all the items on the Devour menu, but I always hold a soft, happy, and hungry place in my heart for our hors d'oeuvres. I think of them as the little bite-sized jewels of our menu. 

'Hors d'oeuvre'  is a French word meaning 'outside of the works'.  It was originally used as an architectural term to indicate an outbuilding or addition not included in an architect's main work.  The phrase was borrowed by the French culinary crowd to refer to appetizers served to guests before the main meal or 'outside' of the main meal. 

I think these delicious morsels are the bread and butter of a catering company. The personality and skill of the company can really be seen, smelled, and tasted by experiencing the hors d'oeuvre menu.  

And while they may have started as something outside the main meal meant to warm up your appetite or keep you happy while waiting for all the other guests to arrive, they have evolved into something important in their own right. We often cater cocktail dinner parties where the main meal is all hors d'oeuvres.   And with 19 different ones to choose from this season - this isn't hard to do!

Devour's Executive Chef, Mark McEwan, created our Fall and Winter menu this season by thinking about flavours that would be warm and inviting while also including some fun and nostalgic items like our bite-sized spinach dips.  While the flavours may be rich and hearty, each item is fairly simple using fantastic ingredients transformed (with skill and love!) into treats that will make you feel spoiled. Sharing them with guests at a party will definitely make you feel part of a truly special occasion.

To help you get excited about these 'jewels', I have created a glossary to guide you through our current hors d'oeuvre menu.  I guarantee your mouth will be watering and your tummy rumbling by the time you read through the list.  Here we go!

WARM AND COZY

Slow cooked beef short rib burger
A fully dressed bite-sized burger. The short ribs are braised in a sour cherry porter sauce and served on a Devour-baked brioche bun with parmesan aioli, arugula and oven dried tomato.

Shepherd’s pie
A miniature version of the traditional favourite served as a layered parfait in a one ounce glass.  Seasoned beef and lamb with corn and cheddar mashed potatoes.

Braised lamb shoulder on olive polenta cake with Manchego & fig compote
A golden cornmeal cake topped with braised lamb shoulder and garnished with shaved Manchego, a sharp Spanish sheep’s milk cheese.  Our house-made fig jam completes this ‘comfort food’ canapé.

Duck arancini with smoked provolone
Arancini is Italian for ‘little orange’’. These are round delights of risotto filled with shredded duck confit and smoked provolone cheese.  The little oranges are lightly breaded and flash fried to perfection.  Served warm with a saffron orange glaze.

Bite-sized baked spinach dip
Two-bite brioche buns hollowed out and filled with spinach dip.  Too cute.  C’mon we all know you love a spinach dip.  It isn’t a party without one.  Who can resist?

Turkey meat balls with orange-cranberry sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds
The flavours of Christmas all wrapped up on a skewer. There is no need to say more.

Pork belly with Calvados poached apple
The pork belly is spice-rubbed and then slow cooked for 12 hours and lacquered with grape molasses.  Portioned into bite sized cubes, the deliciousness are topped with apples that have been poached in apple liqueur (Calvados), 

Prosciutto, arugula and Fontina flatbread
Our secret recipe flatbread with fresh herb pesto topped with Fontina cheese (stringy and like mozzarella but slightly sharper like cheddar), prosciutto, and arugula.

Tuna conserva over potato cake with lemon aioli
Conserva means ‘to preserve’ in Italian and true tuna conserva is NOT tuna from a can. Fresh tuna is poached in olive oil, garlic, and lemon. The conserva is crumbled onto a potato pancake and topped with confit tomato and lemon aioli.

COOL AND FRESH

Poached prawn roulade with oven dried tomato and basil
Prawn mousse with herbs and garlic is spread flat and then rolled like sushi around oven dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. The roll is then poached and cut into rounds for service.  Pretty and pink on the outside with bright red and green on the inside.

Beet and apple salad on poppy seed spoon
Roasted beets and Granny Smith apples tossed with a truffle honey vinaigrette and placed on an edible poppy seed spoon. The crunch of the green apple, the bright pink of the beets, and the novelty of eating your spoon makes for a wonderful hors d’oeuvre.

Parmesan cannoli with Boursin mousse
Cannoli is the Italian word for “little tube”.  The tube is made with Parmesano Reggiano cheese, parsley and olive oil. The filling is a mousse of Boursin cheese, fresh herbs and cream cheese. Hard cheese filled with soft cheese = yum!

Chicken liver pâté on crostini with rosemary pear chutney
This is an earthy and savoury take on a classic appetizer.  Pâté has been given a bad rap – try this and your mind may change.  We wouldn’t put it on our menu if it wasn’t good.

Roasted red pepper and mascarpone stuffed gougères with jalapeño jelly
A gougère is a savoury version of a cream puff.  The pastry is blended with roasted red peppers and creamy mascarpone cheese before flash frying. Served at room temperature with a sweet and slightly spicy jalapeno jelly.

Bison tartare on Parmesan spoon
Alberta-raised bison tenderloin minced and tossed with capers, onions, shallots, gherkins, grainy mustard and truffle oil.  Lovingly placed on an edible Parmesan cracker spoon.

House cured gravlax on buckwheat blini with chive dill crème
‘Gravlax’ is a Scandinavian word for salmon that has been cured with fresh dill, salt, and sugar. A blini is a thin pancake made with buckwheat flour.  Tasty pink slivers of the salmon are served on the pancake and topped with crème fraiche and a speck of caviar.  This has been a traditional hors d’oeuvre for many moons and with good reason!

Chicken confit and grape salad on endive
Confit is the French word for ‘preserve’.  The confit is made by slow- braising chicken thighs in duck fat.  After being drained, the meat is then shredded and mixed with fresh seedless grapes and herbs and placed on a crunchy and fresh endive spear.

Smoked fish brandade with roasted tomato jam
A brandade is a seasoned fish purée.  Devour’s brandade is made with cod that is mixed with potato.  The brandade is spread over a crostini and topped with roasted tomato jam.

Applewood smoked cheddar grapes with toasted pecans
A seedless grape is rolled in a mixture of Applewood smoked cheddar cheese and cream cheese and then encrusted with toasted pecan pieces.  The sharp cheese, the sweet and crunchy grape, and the salty pecans make for an hors d’oeuvre staple we have been serving for many seasons.

We would love your feedback about the menu so please don't be shy.  You can connect with us on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter and we are always thrilled to hear from you.  Thanks for reading and until next time......