Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fondue!

It's our New Year's Eve tradition to make three-course fondue for as many friends as can make it to the house and squeeze in around the table. (We have established that 16 is the official maximum capacity for the table - without bending the laws of physics - and we have fourteen people this year.)

I get requests for our recipes (shoutout to Soaper who asked for it first this year!) so here is the cheese fondue recipe we use. (I can't guarantee that Birk follows it exactly, because he tends to adjust as he goes, but he says he doesn't do much to this one.)

Swiss-and-Cheddar Cheese Fondue
2 cups Swiss, shredded*
1 cup Cheddar, shredded*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup beer** (slightly less than one bottle)

(Use a large pot on medium to medium-high heat to avoid burning.)

You'll be making the cheese in a regular cooking pot on the stove, and once it's ready, you transfer it to the fondue pots to put on the table.

In a large bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch. (This helps prevent sticking and helps give it the right consistency when melted.)

Add beer to pot. Add garlic clove (crushed but whole). Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat slightly. Add cheese a small handful at a time, stirring and allowing to melt mostly before adding the next handful. Once cheese is all added and melted, add salt and/or pepper to taste. (You can experiment with hot sauce, etc. if you like.)

Protip: You can start with slightly less beer if you want to adjust the amount of beer or cheese to "fix" the consistency at the end.

*We highly recommend shredding your own cheese. Packaged shredded cheese has a powder added to it to prevent sticking, and it can prevent easy melting.
**We like to use Yuengling, but use whatever you like best. It will have an effect on the flavor, so choose wisely. Medium beers are best; avoid dark beers unless you really want a strong beer taste.

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