These recipes originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
Host a delightfully dippable dinner.
Whether you’re planning an Alpine skiing adventure, celebrating the weekend with a gathering of friends, or hosting a cozy family-friendly Valentine’s dinner, there’s certainly room for opportunities to warm ’em up this month with a fun, festive fondue party.
Fondue comes from the French word fondre, meaning “to melt.” Fondue originated in 18th century Switzerland as a means to stretch the family budget during the colder months with leftover cheese and day-old bread. The rich combination of meltable cheeses, garlic, and spices served to refresh the stale bread and bring comfort during the winter months. Fondue came to the states in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair and grew in popularity through the rest of the 60s and 70s, but then kind of filtered out. I wondered why, as I’ve come to know fondue as an easy-to-assemble menu, oh-so-comforting, adaptable, and communal, making it a perfect dinner party plan.
As with bringing back anything retro, bonus points for letting imaginations run wild. When hosting a fondue party, bring in other elements to support your theme, such as music, décor, and even guest attire. Think Brubeck on Spotify, bell-bottoms, and charades.
A few rules come to mind when serving fondue. The Swiss consider it poor manners to let a piece of bread drop into the communal pot, thereby assigning a punitive chore to fit the crime, such as doing the dishes. This clever spin transfers easily to young families teaching children to “dip with care or beware” because they may be doing dishes long into the night.
And it goes without saying, please no double-dipping!
While a fondue party is sure to be considered one of the easier parties to host — as cooking is primarily performed by your guests — don’t let prepping, chopping, and assembling rob you of valuable time with your guests. Plan ahead and think through the logistics of efficiently moving from one course to the next. Consider the safety of others when determining whether to use an electric pot (controls temperature, cooks faster, however a cord is attached) or Sterno pot (cooks slower, so invite fewer guests). Finally, quality counts so source high-end ingredients. The extra dough spent equals better flavored and textured fondue. If concerned about the expense, consider a potluck and ask your guests to contribute a cheese, protein, or dipping sauce.
No reason to fear the chill this month. Welcome ’em in from the cold with these warm, creamy, and indulgent recipes.
Fondue Bourguignonne ▶ Makes 4-6 servings
Fillet of beef
sweet soy glaze
sweet red chili
32 oz. beef broth (low sodium)
8 cloves of garlic (whole)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. black pepper
For Sauce: Fill fondue pot about halfway with Canola oil and heat to 360 degrees, then cook protein and vegetables to desired doneness.
For Broth: Fill fondue pot with broth. Peel garlic and place in pot with bay leaves and pepper. Heat to 360 degrees, then cook protein and vegetables to desired doneness.
Choose dippers, then cut each in equal size pieces and artfully arrange on a tray for guests to select. Be careful while handling and plating raw meat, keeping it separate from the vegetables. Choose dipping sauces and arrange on a separate tray in small bowls.
“Fondue Bourguignonne is the main dish of the meal. Oil or broth is used to cook the protein and vegetables. Cooking with oil is faster, and broth is a healthier option.” — Laura
Cheese Fondue ▶Makes 4-6 servings
8 oz. Gruyere cheese
8 oz. Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1.5 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
breads (French, sourdough, pumpernickel)
Granny Smith apple slices
Grate cheeses and combine in a bowl with cornstarch. Toss with a spoon so all cheese is coated. In a fondue pot on medium heat, or on the stove in an enameled cast iron pot, add broth then cheeses, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until it completely melts and comes together. Add juice and then add the spices. Simmer on very low and serve with dippers of breads or apples.
Chocolate Fondue ▶Makes 4-6 servings
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp. sea salt
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine chocolate chips, milk, and cream. Whisk until melted and creamy. Don’t allow chocolate to boil. Stir in vanilla and salt, then place into a fondue pot and serve with dippers.
“Make sure fondue pot and any containers are dry and free of any water or it will cause chocolate to seize and ruin it.” — Laura
Laura Schupp is the author of Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering & Creating Traditions. Learn more about Laura at OurNewlywedKitchen.com.