Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Can You Fondue?

Forgive me the corny joke, but I am back with details (and recipes) from our Fondue night on Sunday night.   As I alluded to in this post, we had Ashlee and JY over for dinner on Sunday night.  It was a potluck style dinner that broke down like this:

Cheese fondue course with fixings (french bread, sliced bell peppers, sliced apples)
A protein (mixed seafood from Trader Joe's containing shrimp, scallops and calamari) 
A sauce for dipping (Horseradish sauce and cocktail sauce)
Broth for the protein course
Our fondue pot (for the cheese course)
A borrowed fondue pot from a friend (for the protein course)
Champagne for drinking

A protein (chicken and steak)
A sauce for dipping (Sweet Asian dipping sauce)
Chocolate fondue course with fixings (pretzels, giant marshmallows and strawberries)
Their fondue pot

I only took pictures of our offerings because we were hungry and anxious to get the show on the road once our guests arrived!

A few notes about the evening:
  • We used a cheese fondue packet from Trader Joe's that made our life much easier.  All you had to do was slowly add the cheese packet into the fondue pot and stir until it was melted--this is also a much cheaper option as well because the whole packet cost 5.99 whereas the ingredients to make it from scratch would have cost a lot more.  If you would like to make it from scratch or don't have a Trader Joe's in your area, I've included the recipe at the end of this blog post!
  • Our fondue pot is a 70s relic I got at a garage sale last year for five bucks!  Unlike the newer models, it runs off of Sterno.  If the power ever goes out, we can boil water and heat up soups with the strike of a match!  Plus, I like the cheery orange color it adds to our table.
  • Protein courses take a long time.  Each piece of meat takes 3-4 minutes and even with each person using two skewers, we were working at it for a while!
  • The broth left from the protein course is delicious as its had all sorts of good things simmering in it for an hour or more--do not throw this out but reuse it.  It would make for great risotto!
  • 3 fondue pots is a necessity--no need to wash dishes between courses!  We moved seamlessly from one course to the next.
  • We should use our wedding china and cloth napkins more often.  They make any meal feel special!
  • Having a fondue night at home is more fun and way less expensive than going out to places like The Melting Pot.  For the four of us, each couple paid about forty dollars or less including alcohol.  Compare that to the cost for two at The Melting Pot where we have known people to spend one hundred plus dollars there (we've never been ourselves)
  • This would be a great dinner date for kids and adults alike.   The younger ones would probably need help with the skewers, especially with the protein course, but it would definitely be fun and a break from the ordinary!

Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue, taken from The 125 Best Fondue Recipes cookbook

8 ounces of Emmentaler cheese, grated
8 ounces of Gruyere cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, halved
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons kirsch (dry cherry schnapps)--we substitute this with 2 tablespoons of water when we make cheese fondue from scratch and it turns out just fine!
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Kitchen Supplies:
Box grater
Fondue pot
Fondue skewers
Large saucepan
Glass or metal bowl

In a bowl combine cheeses, mixing well to combine.  Set aside.  Rub the inside of a large saucepan with cut sides of garlic.  Discard remaining garlic.  Add wine and lemon juice, bringing to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add cheese mixture in small amounts to saucepan, whisking constantly after each addition in a figure-eight motion until cheese is melted.

In a small bowl, whisk together kirsch (or water) and cornstarch until smooth; stir into melted cheese.  Season with white pepper and nutmeg, stirring until smooth.  Transfer to a fondue pot and serve immediately.

Horseradish Dip, modified from The 125 Best Fondue Recipes cookbook

The horseradish sauce is in the wavy ramekins pictured above.  We garnished them with lemon zest and red bell pepper.
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt--the original recipe calls for mayonnaise, but J and JY are not fans so we substituted with yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Kitchen Supplies:
Measuring spoons
Glass mixing bowl or 3 cup measuring cup--I just mixed it all up in the measuring cup which cut down on the number of dishes we dirtied!
Serving dish(es)
Plastic wrap

In a bowl combine horseradish, yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice and sugar, mixing well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (the cookbook recommends overnight) to allow flavors to blend.  Bring to room temperature before serving and pour into serving dishes.

Have you ever tried making fondue at home?  How did it go?  Any tips for me?  Let's hear it!


  1. What a spread! Looks like an awesome meal! Cheers!

  2. That looks great! I've never done it at home but I love fondue, so maybe I will!

  3. Um.... where was my invite? We're practically family now that our ginger kitties are in love. HMPF!

    bahahaha! This looks so amazing! You guys did a fantastic job! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  4. What a fun thing to do with friends. I've never tried doing fondue at home - I'd love to get a fondue pot.

    LOVE Moscow Mules - so SO good! :)

  5. I love your orange pot ... super cute! I always think of fondue as a cheese only meal (and Chris can't eat cheese! boo!), but I love that you cooked things in broth too. Great idea! It all looks so yummy :)

  6. @ Gina: Thanks! It was a pretty fun night.

    @ Every Little Thing: You really should--it's too easy and fun not to :)

    @ Jennifer: You guys (and Madison) are welcome anytime!

    @ L: Me too--what's not to love about melt-y cheese and bread?!

    @ Courtney: Are Moscow Mules a Nebraska thing because I had never heard of them before moving to the Midwest?

    @ Jenn: Oh yeah and you could do vegetables or veggies and soba noodles to make it an Asian hot pot (there were a ton of recipes for Mongolian hot pots in the fondue cookbook)!


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