Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Course Fondue


A couple of weeks ago, I hosted my book club at my house, and I served fondue for dinner. Fondue has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. It was definitely a special occasion dinner, but it was a family favorite. My youngest brother always requested it for his birthday dinner, and I hosted a fondue party for my high school girlfriends at least once a year. Now, when my mom did fondue, she always served 3 courses - cheese, meat, and dessert. The cheese sauce was the appetizer, and was probably everyone's favorite. Her sauce was simple - a can of tomato soup mixed with a block of shredded cheddar cheese. It might sound strange, but trust me, it's yummy. She would cube up a loaf of French bread and that's what we dipped in the cheese sauce. The meat course was always beef, and it was cooked in oil. Yes, I know it's not healthy, but it was very good. She served it with three sauces - a garlic butter sauce, a horseradish sauce, and a BBQ sauce. The three sauces were served warm. Finally came the dessert - chocolate fondue. We usually dipped strawberries  or angel food cake in the chocolate sauce.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I try to be a relatively healthy eater, and fondue simply does not fit into that category. That's one of the main reasons I don't make it very often. When I decided to make it for my book club, I knew I wanted to make it a smidge healthier (and I stress the smidge part). One of my friends is pregnant, so I knew I couldn't use any alcohol in the recipes (and if you've ever looked for fondue recipes, you know that many of them call for various liquors in the sauces and cooking methods). So, here's what I came up with for my party. Enjoy!

Appetizer Course - Cheese Sauce with Bread, Celery, and Apple Dippers

White Cheese Fondue

Ingredients:

2 cups grated Swiss cheese
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb cornstarch
Dash of pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth



Dippers:
French bread, cubed
Celery sticks
Apple slices (dip in lemon juice or sprinkle with Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning)

Directions:
Melt the cheeses in 1 3/4 cups chicken broth with garlic added. Keep broth barely under a boil, stirring until cheese is completely melted (it will be stringy).

Combine cornstarch, pepper, salt, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce in 1/4 cup chicken broth. Add to cheese mixture, stirring until smooth. Put fondue mixture into a preheated fondue pot and keep at temperature hot enough to maintain desired texture without scorching.

Serve with bread cubes, apple slices, and celery sticks (raw broccoli and cauliflower florets are also good if you like them).

Main Course - Court Bouillon (used for cooking the meat instead of oil) with Ginger Soy Sauce, Horseradish Cream Sauce, and Honey Mustard Sauce


Court Bouillon Broth
Many court bouillon recipes call for white wine, so I substituted chicken broth to make it safe for my pregnant friend. :)

Ingredients:


3 cups water
2 cups chicken stock (or white wine)
1 lemon, juiced
1 medium finely chopped onion
1/2 stalk finely chopped celery
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 T fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf

Cubed raw meat to cook in broth (I used chicken breasts and beef sirloin).


Directions:
Whisk all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain broth through sieve, discarding the vegetables, and pour liquid into fondue pot. Keep the heat at a high simmer to cook meat. Dip cooked meats into sauces.


Ginger Soy Sauce


1 cup lower sodium soy sauce
1 t chili sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t ginger
1 cup orange juice


Whisk together all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. 


Horseradish Cream Sauce

1 cup fat free sour cream
3 T prepared horseradish
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 t Worcestershire sauce

Whisk together all ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Honey Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Whisk together and chill until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving or heat briefly in microwave.

Dessert Course - Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue

Ingredients
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Dippers:
strawberries
bananas (cut into bite sized chunks right before serving)
angel food cake
brownies

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the chocolate chips, sugar, milk and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm.





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