Fondue, popular in the US in the 60s and early 70s, has been enjoying a comeback, and with good reason. It's a fun and delicious way to bring friends and family together. A fondue can be savory or sweet. The most common fondues are made with cheese or chocolate. The classic Swiss fondue usually contains Gruyere, wine, and kirsch liqueur.
This version contains cheddar cheese, seasonings, and some beer. For the beer, go for one light on hops and not too bitter. A Belgian saison or German bock are both excellent choices. Or use a basic American lager beer, such as Allagash White or Dogfish's Namaste. Avoid a bitter or hoppy beer; it could overwhelm the mellow cheese flavor.
For dippers, there are dozens of possibilities. Purchase or bake a rustic artisan-style loaf, ciabatta, sourdough, or crusty French bread and cut it into cubes. Or serve the fondue with chunks of soft pretzels. Whole fresh mushrooms, broccoli or cauliflower florets (lightly steamed or raw), pepper strips, charred shishito peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and baked or roasted potato wedges are some vegetable options. For meat, consider cubes of cooked ham, cooked meatballs, smoked sausage, or turkey.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard powder
- Dash cayenne pepper (or add a dash of hot sauce to the melted mixture)
- 3/4 cup beer
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Peel the garlic clove and cut in half. Rub the cut sides over the inside surface of the fondue pot.
- In a bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, flour, mustard and ground cayenne; mix to blend thoroughly.
- In fondue pot, combine the beer and Worcestershire sauce.
- Set temperature at 375 F and heat until bubbling.
- Gradually add the cheese mixture while stirring constantly. Cook until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth and lump-free, stirring constantly.
- Reduce temperature to 200 F to keep warm for serving.
Fondue Cooking Tips
- Make sure all vegetables are washed and then thoroughly dried. If they are wet, the cheese mixture won't adhere.
- Offer plenty of small plates and napkins for guests.
- Keep a slotted spoon handy for those bits of food that end up falling into the fondue.
- If the cheese mixture becomes thick, whisk in a bit of milk or cream to thin it.
- Make sure you have dipping forks for all of your guests. Or use long bamboo skewers.
- If you don't have an electric fondue pot, heat the mixture in a saucepan over medium-low heat on the stovetop until it's melted and smooth. Pour it into a crock pot and turn it to low heat or the warm setting for serving.
- Cut bread into cubes about 30 minutes to an hour in advance so it will have time to dry slightly.