Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue

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husband making fondue, andrew swiping bread

The conversation starts so innocently with, “what are your plans this week?” Before sensibility, 3 loads of laundry and my mile long to-do list can catch up to my big mouth, I’ve already invited half the neighborhood over for supper. As the “gourmet chef” amongst my friends, it’s been a natural progression over the past few years to just consider my home the free local restaurant. Normally, this is a great thing, as my friends are recipients of recipe testing and my fanciful food experiments. Plus, they bring wine, laughter, cute kids and sometimes even help wash the dishes afterwards.

But it’s getting old.

It would just be nice to be invited to someone’s house for a change. To not have to plan menu, shop, prep and crazily clean the house 15 minutes before guests arrive. And when I say “clean,” I really mean throw toys in the closet, scootch cracker crumbs under the couch with my feet, swipe the layer of dust on the glass table with my forearm and stash away traces of super convenience foods like Rice-a-Roni, instant ramen and Betty Crocker. You know, items that a gourmet chef would never be caught dead with in her kitchen.

Most of my friends would rather treat us out for dinner occasionally, sparing themselves of the unnecessary stress of entertaining. Maybe it’s the fear factor of what to prepare for someone who cooks and writes about food for a living. Oh but how I long to let my kids mess up their house, spill a little red wine on their cheap ass carpet, ask them difficult math questions while they are orchestrating the final touches of 5 dishes to be served steaming hot simultaneously, and get deliriously drunk and “forget” to help clean the kitchen…..continued….

I’m craving nothing fancy schmancy, really. Just a simple, low-maintenance meal like Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue. There’s really no cooking involved, and no, I don’t count melting cheese as cooking. There are endless variations of fondue, but the combination of sweet, nutty, aged cheddar and the smooth, espresso-like Guinness is my absolute favorite.

The secret to a smooth cheese mixture is to toss the flour with the grated cheese before adding it to the fondue pot. This method evenly distributes the flour (which serves as the thickener) and prevents lumpy fondue! The unexpected ingredient is apple juice concentrate – which balances out the Guinness and aged cheddar beautifully with a hint of sweetness. The acidity also helps create a smooth, creamy cheese. Just a great combo of flavors.

One of our favorite fondue dippers are baby pigs in a blanket. Simple to make – 1 can/tube of crescent dough + Lil’ Smokies baby sausage links. Unroll the dough, cut into strips – wrap each Lil’ Smokie and bake 375F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Aged Cheddar and Guinness Fondue

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Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue Recipe

Servings: 4 as meal or 6 as first course Prep Time: Cook Time:
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 Inspired by this recipe. If you don’t have a fondue pot, just prepare the fondue dip in a medium sized saucepan and bring it to the table hot. You may have to warm the fondue back at the stove a couple of times during the meal. If the cheese gets too thick, thin it out with a little more Guinness. Tossing the grated cheese with flour ensures a smooth, lump-free fondue.

Ingredients:

2 apples, cored & cut into chunks
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups lg cubed ham
2 cups baby carrots, each halved
1 baguette (or any bread with lots of crusty crust)
pigs-in-blanketsFondue
1 lb good aged cheddar, grated
2 ½ tbs all-purpose flour
8 oz. Guinness stout + more if needed
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp powdered mustard
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Toast bread: If your bread is day-old, skip this step. Otherwise cut the bread into 1” squares. Turn oven to 250F. Toast bread pieces for 15 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. Make fondue: Toss grated cheese with the flour. In your fondue pot over low heat, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic. Fry until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn heat to medium-high. Add Guinness, apple juice concentrate, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Bring to boil. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly until fondue is smooth and melted. Thin with more Guinness, if needed throughout the meal. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve: Arrange bread, vegetables and fruit around the table. Other ideas: broccoli, pigs in blanket (made with lil’ smokies wrapped with crescent roll dough unrolled & cut into strips, bake 375F for 12 minutes) , celery, boiled new potatoes, grapes, steamed Brussels sprouts, boiled shrimp.

Comments 65

  1. Natalia

    I love this recipe! Never tried to make fondue (did I type the word correct? :-) before, and it’s Saturday tomorrow, why not to try? ;-) Everything is explained so easy, hope it will go well. I’m not a good cook yet ;-)

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  3. jen @ one curly fry

    I love love love fondue. It’s my absolute favorite. I’ll have to try this recipe. I usually make mine from lager, cheddar + gruyere cheese, a little flour, dash of Worcestershire, ground mustard and freshly cracked pepper. Garnish with scallions. Mmmm. Your recipe looks wonderful. I’ll have to give it a try – maybe this weekend!

  4. HeatherS

    I don’t know what I like more…… Your story or the recipe. I laughed my ass off! I very frequently feel the exact same way, although I am not a gourmet chef I seem to be the only one of my friends and family that is capable of having a full time job with 3 children and constantly cooking enormous meals for everyone and entertaining. The house gets wrecked, the sink is full of dishes and all of the wine is gone by the time they leave. Gotta love it, but when is it my turn????

  5. Rianne

    Thank you very much for this amazing recipe! We made it for New Years eve, with friends and it was great!

  6. Christine

    This recipe is just fabulous. I’ve tried making fondue several times, but they always had something wrong with them. I’ve had them never come together, always staying separate, or just tasting plain wrong. When I tried this recipe, it came out perfect the very first time! Cannot wait to do this again for Valentine’s Day.

  7. NinNH

    I really wanted to like this, but it was just too much – the tanginess was overpowering for our palates and we have pretty hardy tastebuds. The first couple of bites were amazing though. :)

  8. LO Monaghan

    We made this today for Mother’s Day. It was a hit! And the pigs in a blanket were devilishly good! The consistency was spot on and the flavor was rich and creamy. Thanks!

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