You Can Serve a (Halal) Presidential Inauguration Luncheon, Too


If you’re like many other Americans today, you’ve been keeping a close eye on all of today’s historic Presidential Inauguration events. For foodies like myself, what was being served up at this afteroon’s luncheon was of key interest to me.


I’ve heard the Obamas are healthy eaters who also like Mexican food (particularly that which is served up at Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Topolobampo, right here in Chicago).

This made me wonder if there would be organic food on the menu. What about Mexican food? I was interested to know but never imagined that the menu, let alone the recipes, would be available online!

Served to the President, First Lady and Congressional Staff:  (To download the original inauguration menu and the recipes listed above, click here).

First course

  Seafood Stew


Second CourseDuck Breast with Cherry Chutney , Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing, Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Winter Vegetables.



Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake


Some tips for you to make these recipes halal:

  • Leave out the vermouth (a type of alcohol) listed in the Seafood Stew recipe


  • For the Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney recipe, substitute kosher grape juice for the red wine and careful with the Dijon mustard called for in the recipe, as most Dijon mustards have red wine vinegar. (When using any type of wine vinegars you just have to be sure that no wine was added to the vinegar, otherwise it is fine to use).  I would not substitute with any other kind of mustard, as they are mostly too ‘yellow’ and may discolor the end result. Just leave it out if you can’t find a good substitute. And, If you’ve been a reader of this blog before, you know where you can find a halal duck at Midamar, either online or in your local halal meat market (although you usually have to ask for it and/or order ahead of time). Or, read my  article on To Roast a Duckling where you’ll find more information about preparing adn cooking these delicious birds.


  • For the Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing, if you can’t find a halal pheasant, try roasting a halal quail instead. They can be found, usually frozen and sold in packets of two, in most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean marts. Online they can be found at Seattle Discount Warehouse, however, I have never bought from this merchant and cannot comment on their quality, taste or halal certification.


  • The dessert calls for vanilla extract. Do not use the pure vanilla extract because it is stripped with alcohol, usually vodka, to bring out the extract of the vanilla bean. Instead, try using your own vanilla bean or an imitation vanilla extract- those usually don’t contain any alcohol at all.

1 thought on “You Can Serve a (Halal) Presidential Inauguration Luncheon, Too

  1. The politics of food is always a favorite read of mine….but the FOOD OF POLITICS!!!….even better!!!
    Well….heres to a healthy four years….maybe the “pig fat of washington” will be “cut back” since I dont see any pork on the menu!!! OH MY GOSH (OMG!) does that mean that Obama is really a muslim? Is that the proof? Is the proof-in-the-lard-free-pudding?
    (yep the one-liners keep on coming!!!)

    As for the food listed…yum!!! I love me some duck but have always been too scared to cook it….ill blame my mother for that pathological fear!

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