Crockpot Fondue Vudu
Every year, my friends and I celebrate what we like to call “Fake Holidays.” Because we all have family obligations on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, we have taken to having our own private celebration on completely separate dates. For Fake Thanksgiving, we cook a full-out Thanksgiving Feast, usually the weekend before the real event. And for Christmas and New Year’s, we find a weekend that we can all get together, and observe Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day all in the span of about 48 hours. It’s one of my favorite traditions, and rivals real Christmas and New Year’s every time.
For Christmas Day/New Year’s Eve dinner, I decided to make fondue. Since we scraped every last bit of cheese off of the bottom of the pan, I’m going to say it was a hit.
Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe, as seen on Good Eats.
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 8 ounces hard apple cider
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- Pinch kosher salt
- 5 ounces (2 cups) Emmentaler cheese, grated
- 5 ounces (2 cups) Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (I used Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- Several grinds fresh ground black pepper
Rub inside of fondue pot or heavy small saucepan with garlic. Pour cider into pot. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the brandy and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and toss well with the cornstarch in a large bowl. When the cider just begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese a handful at a time, allowing each addition to melt completely before adding the next. Continue adding cheese and stirring until all cheese is incorporated, about 3 minutes. If mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. The mixture is ready when creamy and easily coats the back of a spoon. Stir in curry powder and pepper. If cheese seems stringy, add some or all of the remaining lemon juice. Transfer mixture to a fondue pot or crockpot for serving.
Note: I followed the procedures from Alton, but I did use different cheese. The recipe called for smoked Gouda, but reading the comments at Food Network’s site made me decide to use something that melts a little better. It was delicious with the extra sharp cheddar. I also swapped Emmantaler for the Gruyere that the original recipe called for. Just a personal preference.
I have a confession to make: I don’t own a fondue pot. Or fondue forks. Or little cans of blue flammable gel. Or any of that. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my new crockpot was the perfect substitute. I set it to low for a few minutes while I made the fondue, so that the bowl was warm when I transferred the cheese from the stove. Once I put the cheese in the crockpot, I flipped the setting to warm, and it was perfect for as long as the cheese lasted (which wasn’t all that long!).
I served this cheese fondue with chunks of crusty bread (a basic french and a roasted garlic sourdough), cauliflour, broccoli, baby carrots, apple slices, pretzels, and par-boiled new potatoes. Because they happened to still be out on the counter, we also dipped the leftover pepperoni slices from the pepperoni and parmesan pinwheels, which made surprisingly delicious dippers.