Cheese Fondue – or should I say FUN! Do! Yes, fondue seems to have gone out of favor with the 70s, which is a real shame, because whereas I agree that bell bottoms and velour suits made a “graceful”? exit, I simply have to disagree with not keeping fondue around.
First of all, if nothing else, you have chocolate fondue, and could chocolate ever go out of style? I will answer that, no, it’s just not possible in my paradigm of thinking about the world. What could be wrong about dipping just about everything into chocolate (marshmallows, pound cake, pretzels, potato chips, apples, bananas, strawberries, some people say melons, but really, I don’t understand those people, although, based on my earlier statement that there can’t be anything wrong with dipping just about everything into chocolate, I suppose those melon dippers can dip if they want to).
But before I get to the third course, let’s start with the first course. Cheese fondue. It’s deliciousness on a stick. You can put beer, apple cider, white wine, or broth with your cheese, and then you have a pot filled with melted cheese that you could dip french bread, carrots, celery, granny smith apples and more.
On the last night of Chanukah, we had a little dinner party – my husband had bought me a fondue pot about 2 weeks before, and finally I had a chance to “take it for a spin”. And quite a spin it was – I only have 1 fondue pot, so we washed it out between courses.
The below recipe was based on a Martha Stewart recipe that I tinkered with. It has 3 kinds of cheese, all of which were found at the local 7 mile. However, if you don’t like my choices, pick whatever you like. You’re looking for cheese that you like to eat (this might be obvious, but if you put a cheese you hate into the mix, chances are you aren’t going to like the end product). The “smoked cheese” completely made the dish in my opinion. If you do not have access to “smoked cheese” (which is basically American cheese with smoke flavor, according to the ingredients) then you could add your own smoked flavor – you can buy liquid smoke in the store).
- 1.5 cups apple cider (I used Martinelli’s, because I had that in the house)
- Smoked Cheese – 8 ounces (grated – about 3 cups)
- Monterrey Jack – 8 ounces (grated – about 3 cups)
- Muenster Cheese – 8 ounces (grated – about 3 cups)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Juice from 1 lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- Nutmeg to taste – about 2-3 shakes (this adds a layer of flavor, you won’t necessarily notice the nutmeg itself)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (the original recipe didn’t have, but I felt it needed it)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Boil the apple cider – when boiling add the cheese by the handful and whisk together (or use a fork, I used a fork).
- When the cheese is combined, continue to stir over low heat.
- While the cheese is on the stove, combine the cornstarch and lemon juice. When combined, add the nutmeg and pepper. Then add this mixture to the cheese. Continue to stir until the mixture is smooth. This took about 15 minutes to combine nicely – I originally thought I was just going to have lumpy fondue. However, when I was tasting the still lumpy fondue – I didn’t think I was going to have any leftover for my guests. It was that good. And it just kept getting better as the texture became smoother.
- If you have a fondue pot – then put the cheese into the fondue pot and surround the pot with whatever you want to dip (chunks of french bread, baby carrots, celery sticks, granny smith apples, cauliflower, broccoli, etc). As a tip – you can quickly blanch all the raw vegetables. This will not only make them look stunning, they’ll be easier to eat (and stab if you’re using skewers).
Second Course: Broth Fondue:
This is where you have a boiling broth and then you dip whatever main course you want into the broth and it cooks right in front of you. I made the main course salmon, and the broth was a flavorful vegetable broth – filled with celery, carrots and potatoes (which I served on the side with the salmon). The broth took about an hour to boil (I made it from scratch).
- 8 cups water
- 2 lbs – peeled potatoes cut into bite sized chunks
- 4 peeled carrots cut into bite size chunks
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 stalks of celery diced
- 1 tablespoon celery seed
- 2 teaspoons dill
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- Raw salmon cut into bite size pieces
- Add water to 4 quart pot and turn on heat to high until boiling and cover.
- While waiting for the water to boil add all the rest of the ingredients.
- When boiling, turn down heat to a simmer and let cook for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours (much after 3 hours your potatoes might get too small).
- When you are ready to eat, transfer the broth to your fondue pot (that has a heat source) and then you can skewer the salmon and drop into the boiling broth until cooked (about 4-5 minutes). You can always check the salmon or if you’re using meat, the meat and cut one open and see what it looks like. If it’s not cooked to your liking – put it back in.
Third Course: Chocolate Fondue:
- 1 cup milk, cream or half and half
- 12 ounces chocolate chips
- Sliced Bananas, Slice strawberries, cubed pound cake, sliced apples, pretzels, potato chips, etc.
- Toasted Coconut
- Boil Milk – lower flame
- Add chocolate and stir until combined (I find my chocolate doesn’t combine without additional heat, so on a low flame, I continue to heat the pot until the chocolate is smooth).
- Transfer to your fondue pot
- Dip yummy things
- Then dip the chocolate into toasted coconut (if you like that kind of thing)