New Year’s Cheese Fondue
Ring out the old, ring in the new with yummy cheese-y goodness
I don’t know how it started, but my family always rings in the New Year with cheese fondue. Maybe because it’s fun, maybe because it’s delicious—whatever the reason, I always look forward to our New Year’s Eve fondue dinner.
Fondues are traditionally prepared with some kind of alcoholic beverage, often white wine. We share this with our three kids, though, and they don’t particularly like the flavor of a wine-based fondue. So I experimented a few years back and tried an alcohol-free version by substituting chicken broth for white wine. My family likes the chicken broth just fine—it doesn’t taste quite the same as a wine-based cheese fondue, but that’s a huge plus for my kids! Feel free, though, to use a white wine instead of chicken broth if you’d like.
The Westford Winter Farmer’s Market at Eric's is closed this Saturday, but many of the items for this fondue can be found at the market when it reopens on January 7. You can get bagels at Bagel Alley—they’re the perfect consistency to cube and dip in the fondue. Danish Pastry House also carries loaves of bread that would work well. Foxboro Farm sells cheese, Dragonfly Farm and Golden Egg Farm carry eggs, and you might even get lucky and find some apples at the market. And if you choose to substitute wine for the chicken broth, Turtle Creek Winery carries wine, or the Apfel Eis apple ice wine from Still River Winery might add an interesting flavor.
For the garlic in this dish, you need to very finely mince a clove, or smash it into a paste. There’s nothing worse than a chunk of garlic messing up the smooth melted cheese. I actually like to use Gourmet Garden brand garlic blend—it’s basically a garlic paste. You can find it at the Market Basket in Westford, on the back wall near the bagged salads and fresh herbs in clamshell cases.
- 1 to 1 ¼ pounds cheddar cheese
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic, very finely minced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Anything you want to dip in the cheese, such as cubed bread or bagels, raw vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, or sugar snap peas, soft pretzels, salami or summer sausage coins, diced apples or pears, etc.
- Coarsely grate 1 pound of cheddar cheese. I find freshly grated cheese melts better than if I buy a bag of shredded cheese. Keep the extra ¼ pound of cheese in reserve in case the fondue is too thin. I don’t even grate the last ¼ pound unless I need to.
- Sprinkle the flour over the cheese and gently mix to coat the cheese.
- Place the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, butter, and garlic in a fondue pot (alternately, you can do this in a pot on the stove, but cheese does tend to cool quickly so it does work better in a fondue pot). Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the broth begins to boil.
- Add a handful of cheese and stir well until melted. Continue adding more cheese until it’s all been melted.
- Add a large spoonful of melted cheese to the egg and stir well. Don’t skip this step—this helps prevent the egg from turning into chunky bits of scrambled egg when you add it to the hot cheese. Once you’ve stirred some cheese into the egg, add the egg/cheese mixture to the fondue pot and stir quickly.
- Dip a piece of bread into the fondue. If the cheese seems too thin, grate in some extra cheese until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer.
- Reduce the heat on the fondue pot to low/warm, and enjoy your cheese fondue with whatever you choose to dip in it!