Fondue is making a comeback. Hop on the wagon!
Cheese fondue is probably not something you’ll choose to prepare every week. But for a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day, a special birthday or anniversary, there’s nothing like a well-prepared, good cheese fondue.
Generally, cheese fondue consists of at least two varieties of cheeses that are melted with wine and a bit of flour and served communally out of a pot called a “caquelon.” Long forks are used by each guest to spear a cube of bread, then the bread is dipped into the cheese and eaten.
Cheese fondue must contain a bit of cornstarch or flour. This keeps the cheese in suspension, which keeps the fondue from separating.
When you add the cheese to the simmering wine, stir in a zig-zag rather than circular motion to help break up the cheese. And never allow cheese fondue to reach the boiling point.
Traditional Swiss Fondue
1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch (cherry brandy)
1/2 pound Emmenthaler cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
cubes of French bread for dipping
Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
Stir together cornstarch and kirsch in a cup and set aside. Gradually add cheese to the pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zig-zag pattern to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy. Do not allow to come to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame and serve with bread for dipping. Makes about 4 cups of fondue.
The following recipe from www.CDKitchen.com breaks the general rules of requiring at least two types of cheese and wine, but offers a hearty American twist to the more traditional Swiss fondue.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
bread cubes, ham cubes, bite-sized sausages, broccoli florets for dipping
In saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheese, cook and stir until melted.
Transfer to a slow cooker or fondue pot; cover and keep warm on low. Do not allow to boil once you have added the cheese. Serve with dippers. Makes 2 1/2 cups of fondue. Enjoy!