Every family has their own unique traditions. We have several and most of our traditions, not surprisingly revolve around food. Food always brings our family together. One of our family traditions is to prepare Ploughman’s Fondueevery Christmas Eve. We serve our fondue with a plate of smoked salmon to nibble on alongside big bowls of chopped crusty french bread and steamed or roasted broccoli for dipping.
I’m not sure why, but we haven’t made fondue any other time of the year until recently. It used to be only reserved for Christmas, however my daughter received an electric fondue pot for her 12th birthday and now we’re making fondue more than ever.
My husband and I discovered Ploughman’s Fondue many years ago, right after we got married. It became our Christmas Eve meal because we would attend Christmas Eve Mass with our children who were very little at the time. Mass would be around 5:30 in the evening, we’d return home and make the fondue and all sit around the kitchen table together talking about Christmas and all the fun and excitement that surrounds that very special day. Our kids loved dipping the chunks of fresh french bread into the cheese. As you can imagine with little ones, it could be a little messy, which I’m sure made it more fun.
There are many different types of fondue but I love the simplicity of Ploughman’s. It’s super cheesy and absolutely delicious! I combine two cheeses; Sharp Cheddar with Red Leicester Cheese and they both melt so well.
First, take a garlic clove and slice it in half. Rub the inside of the pot with the garlic and toss it into the pot when you’re done.
While the pot is heating (either on the stove or an electric pot set to about 250 degrees) add in 3/4 of a bottle of beer. Use your favorite. I think a mild tasting beer, such as a wheat or amber type works best rather than anything too thick.
Place the shredded cheeses in a large bowl and add in a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour and dry mustard. Mix it all together well. You’ll know you have enough flour when the cheese has a whitish color coating it.
Slowly add the cheeses into the pot while stirring. At this point you’ll find you’ll probably need to add more beer to thin the fondue. In the end, I use almost a full bottle of beer.
Continue stirring until smooth. After all the cheese has melted, keep the fondue warm so it continues to stay the same consistency and serve with cubes of bread and/or steamed vegetables to dip. Since I’m a carb-watcher, I steam broccoli or roast carrots to serve along with the bread.
Ploughman’s Fondue is the perfect dish to make for a party, it’s rich, creamy and wonderfully cheesy. I’m quite glad we’ve starting making fondue other times during the year. It’s such a fun and fancy meal that’s easy to prepare and tastes great!
Other recipes you might like…
- 1 pound Red Leicester cheese, shredded
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 clove garlic, sliced in half
- 1 12-ounce bottle of beer
- In a large bowl, combine the cheeses together and add in the flour and dry mustard. Mix well and set aside.
- Rub the garlic clove around the inside of your fondue pot or saucepan. Pour 3/4 of the bottle of beer into the pot and bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat.
- Add the cheese, one handful at a time, stirring well and allowing it to melt before adding more. Continue to stir until all the cheese is melted.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly until the fondue looks smooth. Add a little extra beer if the cheese mixture is too thick. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Serve with cubes of crusty bread and/or steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower or carrots.
Joanie Zisk writes a food, wine and family blog called ZagLeft. You can read more from her at www.zagleft.com.