Do you fondue?: How to whip up a three-course fondue feast

Do you fondue?: How to whip up a three-course fondue feast

Photo: 663highland via Wikimedia Commons

Fondue isn’t just a cheesy throwback culinary trend that your parents used to participate in at parties in the the ’70s, it’s a fun, easy and interactive way to share a meal with family and friends.

You don’t even need fondue pots to enjoy it at home. All you need are a few pots and a working stove top. Also, if you’re fondue pot-less and don’t feel like eating it in your kitchen, small slow cookers also come in handy as they can hold the items inside at a constant temperature.

Here are some basic, solid fondue recipes — both sweet and savory — to enjoy. Feel free to play around with the ingredients and make it your own. And if you’ve got a larger crowd to feed, simply multiply ingredients accordingly.

Classic Gruyere Fondue
Makes 3 1/2 cups
Adapted from Not Your Mother’s Fondue by Hallie Harron

Here is a classic, fool-proof cheese fondue. Just be sure that your cheese doesn’t overheat or it will start to separate!

1 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon AP flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Pinch of nutmeg
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, cubed
8 ounces Emmenthaler cheese, cubed
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Dippers: Crusty bread cubes, seasonal raw or steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery sticks, etc.)

Heat the wine, cream, garlic, flour, mustard and nutmeg in a large pot over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until it has slightly thickened. Stir in the cheeses and and season with a pinch of pepper. Lower the heat and stir until the cheese has completely melted and to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

When the cheese has melted and the mixture is thick and creamy, transfer to a fondue pot or small slow cooker that is set to a low heat setting, or enjoy it right on the stove top.

Coq Au Vin Fondue
Makes about 4 cups

Since I’m not a fan of the traditional method of using straight up oil to cook the food for the main course fondue, I opt for a flavored broth to simmer my meat and veggies in. The following is an amazingly delicious and aromatic copycat recipe for one served at The Melting Pot.

3 1/2 cups beef or chicken stock (easily sub vegetable stock, too)
1/2 cup dry red wine (like Merlot or Cabernet)
1/2 cup slices mushrooms (white, cremini, button, etc.)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
2 scallions, minced

Dippers: Chicken breast strips, peeled and deveined shrimp, cubed beef filet, small potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Put all ingredients into a medium sauce pot and bring to a rolling simmer. Place in a pre-heated fondue pot, slow cooker or enjoy over the stove top.

Spear individual pieces of meat or veggies on skewers, place into pot and cook until done. Shrimp should take a minute or less, chicken will take 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness) and beef will take a minute upward (depending on how you like your steak cooked). Serve with dipping sauces, e.g.: horseradish cream, teriyaki, barbecue, mustard, etc.

Classic Chocolate Fondue
Makes about 2 cups

This chocolate fondue recipe is so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t attempted it before. Feel free to play around with flavorings, too. My favorite combo is amaretto liqueur with ancho chile powder and cinnamon.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Optional:
1/2 teaspoon flavored extract: vanilla, mint, almond, coconut, etc.
1 ounce of a flavored liqueur: amaretto, Grand Marnier, Bailey’s, Kahlua, etc.
A few pinches of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, ancho chili powder, cayenne, etc.

Dippers: Fresh fruits, cookies, cake (angel food or pound cake), pretzels

Put chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Place cream in a small sauce pan and heat over medium until it just starts to boil. Pour cream over chocolate and let it sit for at least 2 minutes to melt the chocolate.

With a rubber spatula, fold cream into the melted chocolate a few turns. Then, with spatula in the middle of the bowl, stir in a small circular motion until the mixture is completely combined.

Add in any desired flavorings and serve. To reaheat, place in a heated fondue pot or in a small double boiler over the stove top, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

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