The term ‘One-Pot Meal’ usually congers up images of hearty Irish lamb stew or spicy chicken curry, but perhaps not as often, the idea of a cheese fondue. That is unfortunate, because a fondue is a perfect dish to linger over with your family during cold winter evenings and dirties only one lonesome pot in the making.
We ate traditional Swiss fondue regularly before we had children, but when my son’s palate turned out to be not favorable to strong cheese (and nearly everything else, but that’s beside the point), I gave up on attempting a happy family meal of fondue. Fortunately, Lynn, a wise mother of five, worked the kinks out of this recipe and developed it to be practically irresistible to small hands. Talk about a winner!
This recipe is proof that children’s food doesn’t have to be limited to mac & cheese. As you will notice, children will find the fondue forks irresistible fun. What better way to get them to eat their veggies than to coat them in cheese sauce?
- Don’t be put-off by the richness of the recipe, remember that the accompaniments such as small boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli and cooked shrimp help to make this a well-balanced meal. Serve with a tossed salad, if you like.
- Much of the meal can be prepared in advance, like grating the cheese and fixing the ‘dunkers’, and fondue becomes a quick and easy fix for dinner. How perfect for an apres-ski or afternoon of sledding.
- Don’t worry if you are missing the ‘gear’ for fondue. Sure it’s fun to haul out the pot and those special long forks, but more often than not, I just bring the bubbling pot of melted cheese to the table and everyone digs in. Leaving the fondue in the pot is more convenient for reheating as well, but who am I kidding, it never lasts long enough to warrant a reheat!
- While stirring the bubble pot of melted cheese is a grown-ups job, little hands can still help to grate cheese, wipe mushrooms clean, or peel shrimp.
Cheddar Cheese Fondue
- 2 cups half-and-half, or light cream
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1-1/2 pounds mild or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 6 cups)
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Crusty bread, cubed
- Accompaniments of choice (see below)
1- In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat half-and-half, Worcestershire, mustard and garlic, stirring until hot but not boiling. Discard garlic.
2- In a medium bowl, toss the cheese with the flour until well mixed.
3- Gradually stir the cheese into the hot mixture, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Add salt to taste. Pour into a warmed fondue pot and keep over low heat on fondue stand. Serve at once.
4- Spear dunkers on fondue forks, dip in cheese sauce, and try not to drip!
Any leftover cheese can be gently reheated and poured over vegetables or baked potatoes.
Extra suggestions for ‘dunkers':
- ham, cubed
- cooked shrimp
- sausage chunks such as Kolbassa
- steamed broccoli
- steamed cauliflower
- green apple chunks
- button mushrooms
- asparagus spears
- brussels sprouts, halved and steamed
- small boiled potatoes
Have you given up a favorite meal since becoming a parent? Do share and perhaps we can help bring it back.