Do you fondue?
This was my very first time. I received a fondue set for Christmas. And so, I decided to take this new kitchen "toy" for a test drive on New Year's Eve. I searched the Food Network website for fondue recipes, and found an abundance of delicious looking recipes, both sweet and savory. I choose this particular recipe because I already had everything needed...with the exception of a bottle of lager beer. This Sandra Lee recipe was easy to prepare and deliciously cheesy. Now that I've gotten my fondue feet wet, I'm excited to break the set out again and try some other recipes like this Italian Cheese Fondue by Giada De Laurentiis. Mmmm. I'm getting more excited for the Super Bowl by the minute!
To begin, you just melt 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan.
Then whisk in 1/4 cup of flour...
Now for the beer. I went with Red Stripe, because 1) it was labelled as a "lager" and 2) it was the only individual sale bottle of lager beer available at my local supermarket. Truth be told, I don't know much about beer. I'm not picky and I'm certainly not a beer snob. If it's cold and fizzy at a tailgate party, then I'm good to go! The Red Stripe did just fine in this recipe and I later found that it tastes pretty good on it's own too. : )
Whisk 12 oz. of the beer into your roux.
Next, bring the mixture to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Mine accidentally went a little further, it was more like gravy. After adding in the cheese, I ended up adding more beer to thin the mixture because it got pretty thick.
Now add in some Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. I followed the recipe to begin with, then added more of these ingredients, to taste.
And now for the star of the show: Cheese! I stirred in 4 cups of shredded cheddar (half sharp, half mild), one cup at a time, until it melted. If it suits your taste, you may want to add a little salt after tasting.
Once the fondue was ready, I assembled the fondue set and cut up the bread for dipping. This was my first time using a gel cooking fuel canister. I picked mine up at the grocery store. As I was lighting the canister, it occurred to me: this fondue appeals to a wide audience. If you like beer...this fondue is for you! If you like cheese...this fondue is for you! If you like bread...this fondue is for you! And finally, if you're a pyro-maniac...you'll love this too...especially the part where you get to set the fuel aflame. Any Beavis and Butthead fans left out there? "Fire. Yeah! Fire is cool! He heh he heh!"
I'm regularly faced with the question, "White or wheat" (the answer is always wheat for me). This time I went with both.
I selected this crusty wheat bread from the bakery at my local grocery. Sandra Lee's recipe for this fondue actually includes a recipe for Cracked Wheat Beer Bread to serve with the fondue found HERE.
I also cut up a loaf of white bread, that I'd baked earlier in the day.
All set! Just a sprinkle of parsley for garnish.
Cheesy Beer Fondue from Sandra Lee on FoodNetwork.com
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
4 cups shredded Cheddar
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes while stirring constantly to make a roux. Add beer and bring to slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Add Worcestershire, mustard and cayenne, stirring thoroughly. Add cheese 1 cup at a time, melting cheese after each addition. Stir fondue until it is smooth. Turn into fondue pot and serve with cubed bread.
*I added additional Worcestershire, mustard powder, and cayenne to taste. The original recipe didn't call for salt, but I added a sprinkle of sea salt too.
*I thought that the wheat bread, which had more texture and a hint of sweetness was by far superior with this fondue. However, my husband hands-down preferred the white bread....which stands to reason, because we have the same opinion on the white vs. wheat debate when it comes to rolls and sandwich bread.
*Be sure not to thicken the beer too much before the addition of cheese or the fondue will be pretty thick and you will need to thin it with more beer.
If you're in the market for a fondue set, you can check out the set featured in this post in my left sidebar under "Today's Featured Post Product".