Sunday, November 22, 2009

German Cheddar and Beer Fondue

If you don't own a fondue pot, you should. In fact, it wouldn't hurt you to own a few. I have one with a pot made of enameled cast iron, but at a fondue party we hosted a guest brought one that had a metal outer pot for water and an inner pot made of ceramic (basically a double boiler). I'm going to find out what kind it is and get one of those, because it worked really nicely.

Anyhow, if you've never had fondue, you are missing out. Yes, I know, you're basically eating cheese for dinner, but man, is it delicious. Don't fix it every night if you're trying to eat a low-fat diet. At least it's low-carb (depending on what you dip). . .

At our party, we made two cheese fondues. One was a traditional swiss fondue, which was good but didn't quite set correctly. The second was this recipe, which was so good I might have made it for dinner again tonight if I'd had enough cheese. It will be making appearances at future "date nights" the Big Geek and I have at home after the kids go to bed.

You start out making these on the stove in a regular pan and then transfer them to the fondue pot. Or, if you don't have a fondue pot, I guess you could just stand around the stove and eat it, or put it in a little crock pot. From experience, I can tell you what you CAN'T do--you can't make this at home and then try to take it to a party. It won't work out. You can't cool fondue and reheat it--trust me.

This recipe is from Rachel Ray 30-minute Get Real Meals.

10 oz (2 1/2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (you can try the low-fat, but I'm not going to)
4-6 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
1 rounded tablespoon flour
1 cup German lager
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard (I used a whole grain, and it was awesome)
3 drops of Tabasco
3 drops of Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl, combine the cheeses with the flour. Add the beer to a small pot and bring it up to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce teh heat to simmer and add the cheese mixture in handfuls. Stir constantly in in a figure-eight pattern with a wooden spoon, melting the cheese in batches. When the cheese has been incorporated fully, stir in the mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to a fondue pot and serve.

Incredibly easy, incredibly delicious.

Serve with:
Cubed or thick sliced sausages
Blanched cauliflower and broccoli (see, it's healthy!)
Green apple slices
Roasted potatoes or carrots
Cubes of bread
Anything else that appeals to you!

Rachel says this recipe serves four. I made two of her fondues, which should have served 8, and 12 people ate it with some of the swiss fondue left over, and I don't think anyone was hungry.

Fondue probably isn't little-geek friendly. Sharp, long forks and bubbling pots of cheese plus kids is not a good combo.

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