January 1, 2008

Fondue/Hot Pot - It's a New Year's Eve Tradition

A little bit of this and a little bit of that is my idea of the perfect meal. With an evening of fondue, you can have it all. First, the appetizer- cheese fondue:

1/2 lb. emmenthaler or Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 lb. gruyere
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Kirsch (cherry brandy- find it at liquor store)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg

Add all of the ingredients to fondue pot and mix as it all melts. It's ready when it's combined- serve with apple slices cut to bite-sized pieces and crusty bread cut the same way. If you are so inclined, you can also blanch some baby carrots or other veggies to serve with the cheese fondue. Tip: Don't eat too much of this, the meat fondue is yet to come!

Recipe for hot pot cooking broth (Thank you, Kitty-Mom for the recipe!)

2 boxes of beef broth (I used 1 1/2)
1/2 cup sake
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium is better)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove minced garlic

Bring ingredients to a boil and then adjust flame or heat so that it's just boiling.

Chicken breast- sliced thinly
Filet mignon, top sirloin or top round roast- sliced thinly
Shrimp- peeled and deveined but with tail on
Scallops- we used small ones

Immerse the meat you want to cook on the fondue fork for a few minutes. The food cooks quickly so be sure not to overcook.

What makes hot pots and fondues so memorable and delicious are the side sauces.

Spicy sauce (good with seafood):

Put some dark toasted sesame oil into a wok- a few tablespoons to start. Add two cloves minced garlic and grated ginger. Let it cook for a few minutes but don't let it burn. Add a tablespoon of Schezuan peppercorns, a tablespoon of Asian sesame paste and a couple of teaspoons of hot chili oil. Cook that until very fragrant and then empty into bowl. Stir as you add three tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce and a tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar. Throw in 2 tablespoons of chopped green onions. Let it cool off, stirring frequently. It's ready to use- if you have a strainer, you can strain off everything before you use it to dip in. We didn't have a strainer and it was fine as long as you avoided the peppercorns.

You can make a mild version of the same sauce by not adding the hot chili oil and substituting regular peppercorns for the Schezuan. If you go to an Asian market, you can buy a variety of sauces and use those for dipping. We used a prepackaged peanut sauce, and it was fantastic with the chicken. Here's that peanut sauce, along with some peppadew mustard and some soy sauce:

Later in the evening, we were ready for chocolate fondue. Put you choice of chocolate (you can use just about any chocolate as long as you heat it slllowwwly) over low heat- we bought a chocolate fondue pot which is heated by a votive candle, but it's not necessary if you have a double boiler. The fun part is deciding what to dip in when it's finally all melted. We used fresh strawberries, cubed pound cake, bananas and marshmallows. Mmmmm it is so so good.

I encourage you to try this- there are many variations, you can make what you and your guests like. It's great for parties because everyone can take their time and the cooking set up encourages conversation! If you don't have the meats on ice, they can stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours. I'm funny about things like that, so I just kept a small amount out and kept refilling.

We tried different combinations of food with sauces and all had our favorites. I might wait until next holiday season to have all three types in one evening, but we'll definitely do the cheese again when we want to sip some wine (or wassail)! I might do the chocolate again for a special occasion during the year, and maybe try some white or dark chocolate instead of the milk chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless...and the eggs.


Suzanne said...

Love, love, love meat fondue. My family used to do a meat fondue as a special winter-time meal. My mom used peanut oil to cook the meat instead of broth. She always made 3 sauces; a sour-cream based horseradish sauce, a mushroom sauce (creamy with sherry), and a third sauce that was kind of barbeque-y but not really. I'm pretty sure it had dry mustard and worcestershire sauce in it and it was quite tangy and vinegary - my favorite of the three.

Arties32 said...

I love love it too! My mom used to make it for all special occasions, also with the peanut oil. I recently had it at a restaurant and tried broth. I like both, but broth has to be healthier (?)

Arties32 said...

My mom said she served it to us with hollandaise sauce (!!! MMMMM) and ketchup and mustard.

Namratha said...

The Cheese and Chocolate fondues had me drooling right away...awesome!

nunu said...

I had beef fondue the day before Christmas Eve. We use oil. FRIED BEEF! Yummy. My mom makes a sauce that sounds similar to the one Suzanne refers to...it has ketchup, mustard, worchestchire, lemon juice, vinegar, onions, etc. Hope you enjoyed your holidays : )

Arties32 said...

Hi Nunu! I remember your fried beef story from your People + Food post :). Yes, my family always did it w/oil but Beth's family did it with broth. I like both. Holidays were fun except Marilyn is still in the hospital. I hope you had good holidays too ;)

Anonymous said...

so happy that I was there to sample everything! It was the best food!

Psychgrad said...

I wish I was there to sample everything! But, I have the same fondue pot...so I should be able to make some of this myself.

Nice blog!

Sparki said...

You've inspired me to delve into the magical world of fondue....well...at least the chocolate kind!

Arties32 said...

You won't be sorry!