I have a pretty big love of cheese. Really good cheese. I have never liked cheese fondue that much though. Every time I have had it, I have found the sauce to be heavy and overbearing. So why on earth did I buy a fondue set a year ago? Well, chocolate for one But also for doing broth based fondues. I was first introduced to it a couple of years back by some friends of ours, and just thought that it was a wonderful way to cook. Super healthy of course, and really a lot of fun. For once I am not in the kitchen cooking, with a single visitor, but we are all at the table, cooking our own food, and having a good time. Course, it tastes blooming lovely too.
Since our kitchen is in pieces, and getting worse every day(has to get worse before it gets better.. right now it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor, and no power), we are having to be creative as to what we cook. I say creative, we don’t actually have to be that creative.. We have a BBQ and a single burner gas stove, so we aren’t exactly cooking over a candle here.. The biggest thing is actually prep, and washing up. We have a small dining room table that we use for everything – including food prep. I don’t want to do anything that takes a lot of pans/boards/dishes because I then have to wash them up, bending over in the basement bathtub. That got old after the first day of this! So, we try and cook stuff that doesn’t need a huge amount of prep or pans.
I main bones of this is just some beef stock, simmered with some aromatics and some red wine. This then gets poured into your fondue thing, and you dip in whatever you want. Which leads me on to the next topic… The most wonderful prawns I have ever eaten.
Right now at WholeFoods in Bellevue they have some amazing fresh prawns, that are a decent size, and some with their roe. If I wasn’t doing a beef broth here, I would certainly use the prawn shells and roe to make an awesome fish stock. In fact, I think that is going to be the next fondu we create – maybe a dashi based stock, but then a bunch of prawn shells and roe to add more flavor. Anyhow, I am digressing. These prawns were incredible, especially when cooked in the fondue broth (essentially just poaching). Alongside these we also did some great fresh scallops, and a bunch of vegetables.
All I can say is that this yielded one of the best evenings Danika and I have had since Drake was born. Dinner took a couple of hours, the TV was turned off, and we just drank some wine, chatted, and cooked some wonderful shellfish.
Beef Stock Fondue
1 qt. of beef stock (shop bought is fine.. I don’t know many people that make their own stock on a regular basis)
1/2 yellow onion
1 clove of garlic
1 stem of celery
1 glass of red wine
1/2lb of prawns
1/2lb of scallops
1 small head of broccoli
4 really small onions
handful of green beans
(the vegetable mix, and the seafood mix is up to you – pick things that will stay on a skewer though!)
Finely chop up the garlic, yellow onion and celery. Heat a medium saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add a little olive oil, and allow to heat up. Add the garlic onion and celery. Let this gently cook until soft, about 5 – 1o minutes. Turn up the heat and throw in the red wine. Let this reduce down to about half, and then add the beef stock. Get this boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
Clean and prep the seafood. For fondue I generally like to remove the shells from the prawns. Just makes it less messy if you ask me.
When the broth is done, pour it into the chamber of your fondue set, and get stuck in!! I like to throw some broccoli and the small onions in first, and let them cook for a bit whilst we are cooking the seafood – then you can just hunt them down with your skewer when they are done.