Friday, April 22, 2016
Beer and Cheddar Fondue
1. Cheese: I adore cheese! Devour cheese. Buy-too-much-and-have-to-hurry-to-eat-it before-it’s-too-moldy cheese. My mom used to call Dad and me her little mice since we were always grabbing a slice of cheese. Of course, back in those days, the slice usually came from a large block of Velveeta stored in the fridge. Now I can’t walk past the cheese counter at my local grocery store without picking up my favorites (Port Salute, cheddar, and smoked gouda), plus one or two new ones to try. My lunch and/or supper are often comprised of cheese, crackers or bread, fresh veggies, and fruit (right now I’m into blackberries.) And I want my last meal on Earth to be homemade mac and cheese.
2. A cast iron skillet: I love mine. It is the first one I grab most of the time. While it may be a little slow to heat up, once it’s hot, it stays hot for a long time. I like the sear it gives to meats, how quickly I can stir-fry ingredients, and the nice brown crust on baked recipes such as cornbread and biscuits.
3. Socializing: (You thought I was going to say beer, didn’t you?) My idea of a perfect evening is having a few friends over for food and conversation, with playing games or watching a movie or sporting event for entertainment. This recipe is perfect for such gatherings, especially since I don’t own a fondue pot. (I know, it’s crazy considering how much I love cheese. I really should buy one.)
I found this recipe in a copy of Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen, the people responsible for both Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, plus the America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country television shows on PBS (americastestkitchen.com). The publishers sent me a copy to check out…thank goodness! My copy now has numerous sticky notes popping out of the top to mark the recipes I still wish to try.
This recipe is a keeper!
Beer and Cheddar Fondue
Adapted from Cook it in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does it All by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
Serves 8 to 10
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces American cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups American lager beer (I used Budweiser)
1 garlic clove, minced
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Bread cubes, large pretzels, and broccoli and cauliflower florets, for serving
Place the shredded cheese, cornstarch, dry mustard, pepper, and cayenne pepper into a large bowl. Toss with your hands until the cheese is well coated. Set aside.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, bring the beer and garlic to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and then whisk in the cheese, one handful at a time. Once all of the cheese has melted into the beer-garlic mixture, keep whisking until it just begins to bubble.
Serve the fondue with bread cubes, pretzels, and broccoli and cauliflower florets. The mixture should stay hot for about 15 minutes. To warm it back up, place the skillet back over low heat and stir constantly until the fondue begins to bubble again. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of warm water.