Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Fondue

For the past few years it's been a tradition for our family to fondue on Christmas Eve. I sort of demanded it, actually, when I was Great With Child and nobody had the will to tell me no. And I figured if we turned it into a tradition, it would be fine that we never use the fondue pots any other day of the year. It's a holiday gig now and rationalizes spending the money on the equipment.

Which by the way is not at all fancy. We have two of these Rival pots for the oil and cheese, and then we use a small crockpot for the chocolate. They work fine. The cords are really short though, so we have a multi-plug extension cord to run behind the table and connect everything. Otherwise the pots are way too close to the edge for little kids to be safe.

So. We have three pots going. One is for hot oil. This year we used high-heat safflower oil. The type doesn't really matter as long as you get one that can handle heat. And after awhile the kitchen is going to smell like you're burning things anyway, if you do this for a long time...

We use bites of chicken and steak in the oil, and also mushrooms. We make a tempura batter to dip the stuff in first so they end up with a nice crunchy coating. Ours is this one. If you're not gluten free, you can google a different kind.

For the cheese, we've tried a couple different ones. I think our favorite so far is a variation of Tyler Florence's recipe. Of course, I don't have any of the fancy ingredients it calls for. I always leave out the kirsch, and this year I did half white wine and half chicken broth because I didn't have enough wine.
  • 1/2 pound imported Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cherry brandy, such as kirsch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Assorted dippers
Yeah, this year I threw in minced garlic instead of rubbing the pot with a clove, didn't have any lemon juice, used about 1/3 wine and 2/3 chicken broth, left out the kirsch, and put in a shot of real mustard instead of dry.

Does that even resemble Tyler's recipe anymore?

With the cheese, I like dipping the meats and mushrooms in it, and we also had bread cubes. If your people like broccoli or cauliflower that would be good too. My people don't touch those things.

The chocolate fondue is a six pack of Hershey bars, broken up and melted in the crockpot with a half a cup of whipping cream. Light cream or half and half if you're feeling especially virtuous. So easy, and oh so delicious.

With that, we set out marshmallows, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, mandarin oranges, and sometimes pretzels or angel food cake cubes.

It's a little different every year, just depending on who is going to be there and what fruits are on sale and all that good stuff. It takes forever to do, but it's SO much fun!!

1 comment:

Southernsweetie said...

That sounds like soo much fun!