A couple of weeks ago I talked a bit how much I disliked fondue. However, Rachel “ended up” getting a fondue pot for Chanukah, so we decided to take it for a spin by seeing if we could accurately re-create a traditional cheese fondue from one of our local restaurants.
The traditional Swiss Cheese fondue calls for a “dry white wine”, and I came up empty trying to determine the actual varietal that is typically used. I actually like something with a little bit of residual sweetness in it, and short of being able to find an actual Swiss wine, I went the Germanic route with a Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel as it would drink nice with the fondue as well. An Alsatian Riesling or a Pinot Gris (the French version of Pinot Grigio) or a Sauvignon Blanc would work really well too.
You’ll also, optionally, want to get yourself some Kirschwasser:
Kirschwasser or Kirsch is a double distilled un-aged brandy made from cherries. You might have to go to a few different liquor stores before you can find some.
Fondue doesn’t have to taste like the 1970’s. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Here we’ve got 1lb of shredded Swiss-type cheese, with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Tradtional fondue calls for a 1:1 ratio of Gruyere to Emmentaler, but Jarlsberg (a Norweigian Swiss -style cheese) was on sale that week at ShopRite. We used this recipe from the Food Network site, but halved.
Here we’re heating up 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken stock to a simmer, along with 2 grated garlic cloves. Alternatively, you can use just 2 cups of white wine, for a more winey taste. When the wine/stock mixture has just about or just started to boil, turn the heat to low.
Begin incorporating the cheese a handful at a time, so that it slowly begins to melt.
Stir constantly, and toss in a decent amount of freshly ground black pepper.
When it reaches a uniform cheese sauce consistency and sticks to the spoon, the fondue is ready for transferring to the fondue pot, and you’ll want to hit it with a full ounce of Kirschwasser at this time.
Fondue, transferred to the fondue pot, which was plugged in and left to warm up while the fondue was cooking on the stove. This particular pot is made by Trudeau, and we like it because it has a magnetic quick-disconnect on the electric cord, and it has a modular design that uses a double-boiler system in which the ceramic pot (for cheese fondues) sits atop the boiler, which is filled with water, which can also disconnect from the actual heating base. The ceramic pot is removable for easy cleaning and can be put thru the dishwasher.
Typical accompaniments to fondue — bread cubes, blanched vegetables, sliced apples, and small boiled potatoes.
We also tried our hand at a Fondue Chinoise, which is a broth-based fondue. Here we’ve combined chicken stock, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, onions, ginger and wine to taste in a Pyrex container and nuked it in the microwave until hot.
The stock mixture was put directly into the fondue boiler for continued heating, and the element was turned all the way up to boil. We added some chopped cilantro leaves.
We went with uncooked vegetables and chicken breast peices. You could also use Asian dumplings (like Korean Mandoo or Japanese Gyoza) as well as ramen noodles, too.
Stick your meat onto the skewers and into the boiling broth to cook.
Here we’ve used a mixture of soy sauce and Changkiang black vinegar for dipping.