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Potluck : When Luck Fails : Quick fixes: Last-minute potluck dishes that are fast, easy and dependable.

August 29, 1991|ROSE DOSTI

Sometimes potluck parties are organized at the last minute. But instead of picking up a bucket of chicken on the way, cook something quick. You could make an easy version of cassoulet with chicken drumsticks and smoked sausage--it takes less than an hour.

Or, if you're in a big hurry, you could "doctor up" food you've picked up from the supermarket. Roasted chicken can be dressed up as Chicken Divan; a box of vanilla pudding mix becomes rum pudding; and a sheet sponge cake can be topped with fruit preserves and coconut flakes. It's the kind of easy, fast cooking that can rescue cooks in a pinch.

EASY CASSOULET

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

8 chicken drumsticks

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup white or red wine

1 cup broth or water, about

2 (1-pound) cans white beans

Salt, pepper

Dash paprika

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 smoked sausage links, halved

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until onion is tender. Add chicken drumsticks and saute until browned on all sides. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes to blend flavors. Add wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add broth and bring to boil. Add beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add paprika, bay leaf and oregano. Bring to simmer.

Add sausage links. Mix carefully. Cover and bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

AMBROSIA CAKE

2/3 cup orange or other marmalade or fruit preserves

1 (9-inch) square or loaf bakery angel food or sheet sponge cake

1 cup flake coconut

Stir marmalade to soften. Place cake on baking sheet and spread marmalade evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle with coconut.

Place cake under broiler 1 minute or until toasted. Cut into squares or slices to serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 (9-inch) square or loaf.

CHICKEN DIVAN

2 (1 1/2-pound) roasted chickens

2 packages frozen broccoli

1 (8-ounce) can hollandaise sauce

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

3 tablespoons dry Sherry

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt, pepper

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Remove skins from chickens. Cut breast and leg meat into thin slices. Arrange broccoli in deep heat-proof casserole. Top with sliced chicken. Blend together hollandaise, whipped cream, Sherry and Worcestershire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over casserole. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and top is slightly browned. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

RUM PUDDING

2 (8-ounce) package vanilla pudding mix

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup rum

2 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions. Whip cream to soft peaks. Add rum and whip until stiff. Fold in whipped cream mixture and ginger into vanilla pudding. Spoon into dessert bowls. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

TARAMA (Red Roe Dip)

2 cups sour cream

1 cup salmon roe

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Blend together sour cream, salmon roe and dill. Chill. Use as dip for fresh raw vegetables or crackers, or as topping for grilled or fried fish. Makes 3 cups.

BISCUIT BRUSCHETTA

1/4 cup butter

2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 (7.5-ounce) package refrigerator biscuits

Melt butter with garlic and paprika. Place biscuits on baking sheet and brush each biscuit with butter mixture. Bake as directed on package, or until biscuits are formed. Makes 20.

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