My SO and I have been on a fondue kick for the past few weeks. We've made at least six batches of fondue with four different cheeses; melted cheese on good crusty artisan bread never gets old (at least for me; my SO is hinting that we've had enough for now). One of the nice things about fondue is that it's exceptionally easy to make from scratch; the fondue might even be ready before the bread is finished warming in the oven. Since fondue seems like the perfect treat for a cool fall evening, it's this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.
1/2 large clove (or 1 small clove) garlic, finely chopped or pressed with a garlic press
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound cheese, chopped into 1/2" to 1" cubes
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt, if needed (use only if the cheese is not very salty)
grinding or two of black pepper
0) Warm a loaf of crusty artisan bread (e.g., ciabatta, country loaf, baguettes) in a preheated 350F oven for 5-10 minutes; plan to have the bread warmed by the time the fondue is ready to serve.
1) Bring the garlic, wine, and chicken stock to a simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat.
2) Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted; the fondue will probably not be entirely homogeneous at this point.
3) Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture and continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly and the fondue is homogeneous (2-5 minutes).
4) Serve in a pot on the table (see notes) with thick slices of bread. To eat, tear the bread into bite-sized pieces, put a piece of bread onto the end of a fork, and dip into the fondue.
We've found that a half-pound of cheese makes enough fondue for two people for dinner. This recipe scales extremely easily, and leftovers reheat relatively well on the stove, so make more if you desire.
The classic fondue cheese is Gruyere, but part of the fun of making fondue at home is trying out various cheeses, so browse your local grocery store's cheese section and pick out what you like best. We've used Emmentaler, Raclette, Fontina, and Dubliner Irish cheeses, and they were all great. If you decide to try Raclette, you may notice that it is quite smelly when cold; don't let the smell put you off, as it's extremely good (and much better smelling) when heated.
Keeping the fondue warm while serving is important, though doesn't require an expensive fondue pot. We place a flat wire roasting rack on two mugs to make an elevated pot holder, put the fondue pot on that, and then place tea lights underneath to keep the pot warm; it doesn't look as nice as a coordinated fondue set, but it functions just as well. Of course you could also skip the fancy table setup altogether and just bring the pot back to the stove for reheating whenever the fondue gets too cool.
As a minor note, red wine works as an adequate substitute for white wine in a pinch - it'll turn your fondue pink, but otherwise will taste fine (guess how we figured this out).
This recipe is modified from one in Rombauer et al. (1997); we've added garlic, increased the cornstarch amount, and replaced half the wine with chicken stock.
Rombauer, I. S., M. R. Becker, and E. Becker. 1997. Joy of Cooking. Scribner, NY.