Fondue

October 29, 2018

Fondue just happens to be one of the best ways to share a communal meal. Despite being thought of as a “fancy” treat popular in the 1960s and 1970s, it’s truly not hard to make, it’s tasty and can be economical too. 

There are three basic kinds of fondue; cheese, hot oil, and broth. Because it’s a hot pot of delicious goodness, it’s the perfect fall or winter meal for family dinners or parties.

Take your party one step further by getting special divided fondue plates for the family or guests, or prepare special dipping sauces and condiments for extra fun and flavor.

Cheese Fondue
Possibly the most common type of fondue is cheese fondue. Cheese fondue most often has beer or wine in it to keep it smooth and creamy, however, it’s possible to make it alcohol-free too. 

White wine is used more than red wine, and dark ales are used more than alternatives; however, you might find your favorite cheese fondue by mixing it up and trying new flavor combinations. 

Cheddar cheese is the most popular type of cheese used in fondue, but almost any kind will work – Swiss, brie, gouda, blue cheese, cream cheese, and so on. 

Making fondue at home is as simple as adding your wine or beer to the pot, turning the heat on until it is warm (but not boiling), and gradually adding the cheese until it’s good and melty. After that, you can add in any extra spices or other ingredients you want.

You’ll sit the pot in a special rack which will hold it above a small candle to keep it warm. Different versions of these pots may also mean you can use something like a crock pot or slow cooker too.

What to dip into that bubbly cheesy pot?  Almost any kinds of breads and crackers work, but meats, vegetables, and seafood could also be used. Trying different “dippers” can be like a mini-adventure, and you might end up liking a combination that you never would have expected. Broccoli in cheese fondue is usually a hit at parties, so try that, but pretzels and meats like mini hot dogs are also delicious and easy. 

Many foodies learning to make the perfect cheese fondue discover that it clumps easily, but the fix for this is either lemon juice or extra wine – a simple splash and stir will do. 

oil fondueHot Oil Fondue
As the name suggests, you will need hot oil for this type of fondue. Because working with hot oil can be dangerous if it spills, make sure you have a proper pot and set-up for this version of fondue. Fondue kits can be found inexpensively online, in second hand stores, or even in kitchen shops. Make sure you choose one with special long-handled forks for the best and least messy fondue. One note: fondue pots that use candles are usually not suitable for hot oil fondues and more often than not you’ll need special canned cooking fuel. 

The best fondue to make with hot oil is meat fondue. The most commonly used oils are peanut oil and canola oil because they have higher smoking points than other oils like vegetable oil. 

You can pick nearly any meat that you enjoy, but it seems steak is a popular favourite. Cut the meat into small, bite sized pieces then heat your oil of choice on a stovetop until it reaches about 375 degrees. Once it’s ready, it’s best to immediately pour it into your dedicated fondue pot with the pot’s heat source already on. You are then ready to cook your meat, so skewer a piece and put it into the pot. 

Average cook times can vary depending on your preferences. The shorter you cook it, the more rare the meat will be. Steak and beef usually vary between 30 seconds to a minute, pork usually takes one minute, and chicken should be cooked for about two minutes. 

Broth Fondue
Broth fondue is a lot like hot oil fondue except it tends to be the choice of those watching their fat and calorie intakes. As with hot oil fondue, meats are the most common dipper used in broth fondue.  

There are so many different types of broth out there that it can be hard to decide which one to use. Of course, simple vegetable broth will do, but you can also make your own broths with vegetables, spices, beef, pork, lamb, and fish. There are endless options on broth recipes, but most include a mix of chopped veggies and spices. 

As with hot oil fondue, refrigerate any raw meat until the hot broth is transferred from the stove to the fondue pot, and then take them out and enjoy. Broth fondue actually evaporates quickly, so it’s best to make more than you think you need and top the pot off when it is getting low. 

This winter, on a cool night, break out a fondue kit, some fresh meats, cheeses, veggies and more and start to experiment. We think fondue is poised for a comeback!

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