Fondue dishes, which had become popular in the U.S. three decades ago, are back in vogue and numerous restaurants specialized in fondue dishes have sprung up across the nation. With the return of fondue cooking, we thought it would be useful to provide you with some useful tips on how to cook food fondue style.
The first thing you'll need is to purchase a fondue pot and fondue sticks. Choose a pot size that is appropriate for your needs (fondue pots come in different sizes). Besides the traditional fondue pots that you use on an open flame, there are now electric pots that allow you to regulate the temperature inside the pot.
There are countless varieties of fondue dishes, but the three principal fondue types are cheese fondues, meat and vegetable fondues and dessert fondues. If they are part of a meal, cheese fondues are usually served as appetizers. Meat and vegetable fondues are used as a main course. Fondues do not necessarily have to be served as part of a meal; you can have a wine and cheese fondue party, for instance. Also, a meal is not normally made up entirely of fondue dishes.
Cheese fondues can be made with a variety of cheeses and cheese combinations. There are mild Muenster versions, sharp emmenthal and gruyere versions, cheddar, pepper jack, and Cajun cheese versions of this tasty and popular fondue dish. Heat the liquid in the fondue pot then add grated cheese that has been tossed with cornstarch. Stir gently until the cheese is grated. It is important to watch the heat level on cheese fondue to make sure that it doesn't burn or harden and clump due to not being warm enough.
Use broth or oil to cook meat and vegetable fondues. Season the liquid, put it in the fondue pot and heat until it starts to boil. You will be dipping uncooked meat into this liquid, so make sure the temperature is high enough to cook the meat thoroughly in a few seconds. Remember though that if you heat oil excessively it will splatter out of the pot.
Most dessert fondues are based on some kind of melted chocolate. For instance, you can cook a sumptuous chocolate fondue by melting chocolate with cream in the fondue pot. Use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or any combination of these. Chocolate fondues taste better if the chocolate used is good quality, so do not use cooking chocolate. Melt the chocolate at low temperatures. Melting chocolate at high temperatures will cause it to burn and harden.
Marshmallow crme, strawberry syrup and a variety of oils such as mint, vanilla, almond, hazelnut, amaretto or your favorite liqueur can be added to the melted chocolate to produce a delicious flavor.
You should have the food you will be dipping into the fondue pot prepared well before you sit down to sample your fondue dish. If you are making a cheese fondue, prepare bite-sized pieces of your choice of bread (French baguettes, crusty rolls, flatbreads ...). For a main course fondue dish, cut vegetables and / or meat into bite-sized portions as well. Meat cubes should not be more than one inch in size so that they will cook through in a short time. Prepare cookies, brownies, crackers, marshmallows or cake (cut into small pieces) to dip into your chocolate fondue.
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