Fondue is a tradition for our family.
Instigated by my parents. I don’t know how it started, or where the idea came from, but it’s been a much anticipated event for as long as I can remember. Every New Year’s Day we all gather at my parents home. My siblings and all of our children, quite a large crowd. Not only do we look forward to watching the Football Bowl Games, we all love taking part in cooking our own meal, fondue style!
Most people picture a fondue pot full of melted cheese, or chocolate. Both of these are great options and you can choose many things to dip inside the pot. But we choose to do things a bit differently, and it’s tons of fun!
Fondue with a twist…
Each family brings a few different items to add to the party, each year we have our “regular” ingredients and we try a few new ones too.
The base of our fondue is always the same. Instead of cheese or chocolate we use a fondue pot full of chicken stock. Not only is it healthier but you can cook almost anything in chicken stock, get creative with it.
This year we changed things up a bit. We weren’t able to attend holiday events with family, we needed to stay closer to home. Just the four of us, so we decided to fondue for our Christmas dinner instead of waiting for New Year’s day. Georgia, our daughter, is a vegetarian and we needed to figure out a solution to fit her needs too. Although this is tradition we decided to bend the tried and true to fit our needs, none of us wanted to miss out. We all love fondue.
One solution; use vegetable broth in the fondue pot. But 3 of us were planning to cook meat, we couldn’t cook our meat in the same fondue pot and have it remain vegetarian for Georgia. How do you do that? We were a bit perplexed. Santa to the rescue! Somehow he knew just what we needed and Georgia found her very own fondue pot under the Christmas tree.
Perfect solution, we filled one fondue pot with vegetarian stock and a second with chicken broth, everyone was happy!
We also like to have an appetizer to nibble on while our food is cooking, this year we whipped up a warm spinach dip served with tortilla chips, it was a hit. There wasn’t much dip left after the meal.
Fondue Meat Options
We cut each of the ingredients into bite sized pieces so they will fit on the end of the fondue fork, so a little bit of meat goes a long way!
- cocktail weenies
- smokie links
- imitation crab meat
Cheese is so good cooked in the broth, you can’t leave it in the hot pot long or it melts away. When cooked for just a few minutes it comes out all gooey and soft and warm. Delicious!
- Pepper Jack
- Cheddar; white and yellow
The cheese needs to be able to hold it’s form when placed on the fondue fork, a medium soft cheese works best. Soft cheese falls right into the pot, and a hard aged cheese breaks as you push it onto the fork tines! We’ve tried them all, the cheese lovers that we are.
Vegetables are another of our favorite fondue dippers, you can use almost anything! Cut these into bite sized pieces also.
- Green Peppers
- Colored Peppers
- Asparagus; blanched
- Broccoli; blanched
- Cauliflower; blanched
- Button Mushrooms
- Portabella Mushrooms
We blanch some of the vegetables so they will cook quickly in the fondue pot. To blanch, add the veggies to boiling water for a minute or two, then remove.
Fruit is another great option to add to your fondue menu.
Imagine pairing an apple or pear slice with a piece of mozzarella or cheddar. Absolutely delish!
We love the ability to combine several bits and pieces into a great meal. Our favorite combinations include:
- Steak, green peppers and onions
- Smokie links and cheddar
- Shrimp and scallops
- Portabella mushrooms with onion and colored bell peppers
You can have surf and turf if you like, or just steak and veggies. In Georgia’s case veggies, cheese and fruit. The options are endless.
We also add a bowl of cocktail sauce and A-1 to the mix. You could even add a bowl of chocolate sauce for the apples and pear slices. That’s the coolest thing about the menu, everyone gets what they like, and although there’s a lot of chopping involved I don’t have to do all the cooking! Win!
The best part of fondue?
Sitting down to cook your meal takes time. We don’t see that as a drawback, it’s the bonus. For hours we sit, cook, and pair up items, talk about which are our favorites. Then the conversation branches out; talking about other things, what’s going on in our lives, the best parts of our week. Our dreams, goals, wishes and wants. The table is full of laughter.
That’s the best part about it. Fondue, to us, means togetherness. Love. Family. That’s what makes it such a highly anticipated event. It’s not just about the food, It’s really all about the love.
One more bonus!
Invariably we have quite a few leftovers, a bit of this and a bit of that. We use the seafood to make a great seafood chowder for the next day (the broth that’s left behind is filled will all kinds of goodies, it’s a great base for the seafood soup!). The smokie links and cocktail weenies get fried up for breakfast omelets. the oysters become “Casino” or “Wasabi” style appetizers (or Oyster Stew) and the steak and veggies make a great stir fry.
Fantastic left-overs that don’t taste like left-overs? Huge bonus!