Fondue is absolutely delish! And far easier to make than you'd think.
When I started dating my husband a little over seven years ago, he wanted to show me a really great dish they eat quite frequently in his home province of Quebec. I wasn't going to say no to having my man cook for me, so we went out and bought our first couple's purchase; a new fondue set.
I didn't really know what to expect. Growing up in Western Canada, fondue was always considered a somewhat exotic dish, full of cheese or oil. My husband pleasantly surprised me by creating a fondue that was neither of these things and completely delicious.
Since fondue isn't a widely eaten dish out in the west, we don't get a lot of the products they have in Quebec for the many different broths you can create. We also had to find the right cut of meat to put in the bouillion (broth). Not to mention that the fuel for the little burner that goes under the pot is pretty hard to find in Calgary!
It's super easy, once you know how! Here's what we do, and it's always delicious:
1. You need a pot.
To make a broth-based fondue, you're going to need a stainless steel fondue set. This will include a pot for the broth, a base for the pot and burner to rest in, a burner, and fondue forks.
Ceramic fondue sets are great for chocolate, but not for cooking meat and/or vegetables.
Fondue sets can be purchased at a variety of stores that sell kitchen ware. Our first set was bought at The Bay (The Hudson's Bay Company), but I have seen them at Walmart and Think Kitchen/Stoke's. Wherever you buy your pot, be sure to check nearby for the fuel for the burner. It's usually in a plastic bottle and is blue in color; Think Kitchen always carries fuel, so if I need it, I don't worry about hunting it down anywhere else.
2. The Broth
The broth is actually super easy; you just have to put it all together, boil it, and transfer it over to your fondue pot.
For this particular bouillion, you will need:
- 2 cans of onion soup
- Soya sauce (about a teaspoon, but use more if you want more taste),
- 1/3 of a thinly sliced red onion,
- 1/3 of thinly sliced white onion,
- 1 clove of minced garlic. For an added kick, you can also add a little bit of diced shallot.
- spices (oregano and pepper work great).,
- 1 1/2 cups of water and
- a bottle of white wine. Chardonnay seems to work really well, but sauvignon blanc is delicious as well.
In a separate pot on the stove, combine the soup, wine, water, onions, and garlic. Add the soya sauce and spices according to your taste. Bring it to a boil for a few minutes to let the onions cook and release their flavour.
Grab a strainer and the pot from the fondue set. Place the pot under the strainer. Pour the boiling onion mixture into the strainer. Make sure you have also filled your burner with fuel and get ready to light it up to keep your broth hot. Take your now full fondue pot and place it back in the holder. Light your burner and get ready eat!
What should you cook in the broth?
Beef and chicken are best. Chicken can be done in chunks, but be sure to cook it all the way through before eating. Beef is a little more difficult. Since Westerners don't normally eat fondue, grocery stores don't readily put out the correct cut of beef. We've found that if you can find a nice eye of round roast in the meat section, take it to the butcher (those nice people who work behind the meat counter) and ask them to slice it into very thin slices (about 1 millimeter thick) not cubes! This may take a day because the meat needs to be mostly frozen in order to get those thin slices, so be sure to plan ahead.
I also find that mushrooms are excellent to cook in the broth.
Rounding it out
You can make almost anything you want as side dishes to this meal. Rice or baked potato are great accompaniments. Garlic bread or dinner rolls are also tasty and are great for soaking up the broth on your plate. A plate of raw veggies or a salad will give you your serving of veggies for the meal. A bottle of your favourite wine is a great idea, especially to make it a little bit romantic.
And if you are looking for something to dip your fondue in, try a simple mix of 1 part mayo with 1 part ketchup, or 1 part mustard with 1 part mayo.