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Aged Cheddar & Guinness Fondue

aged-cheddar-guinness-fondue-2

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. Laura

    Congrats to everyone! And I’m so amazed – saffron.com really /does/ win at pricing. At my old (and quite excellent) grocery store, one whole vanilla bean couldn’t be had for less than $10.

    And now I find a place which has whole half-pounds of them for barely twice that… woo! I may just have excuses to make vanilla sugar, after all.

  2. Melinda

    Well I be darned… I guess the bribery paid off! Thank you, thank you. I will use these vanilla beans to bring world peace and yumminess to my family and friends lips.

  3. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Wow, I am really jealous right now. Aged cheddar, or regular cheddar is out of reach for me….I love the little pigs in a blanket, too. Thanks for the flour tip, though – I’m sure I can use that with a wonderful Italian cheese here! :)

    Congrats to the winners, I need to get organized and submit next time!

  4. Katie

    I jumped to this post to avoid reading about the rolo/preztel/chocolate/walnut/heaven…. and what do I see? Cheddar and Guiness? Who would have thought? I’ve always done white wine and Gruyere. Next time I’m doing a British fondue… and dip bangers!

  5. Neece

    Congrats to the winners! But wow, thanks for posting how much the vanilla beans are, that really is reasonable.
    That fondue sounds delicious, as well. And I hope your friends invite you over for dinner soon. I know I’d be totally intimidated though, if I were them.

  6. Kitt

    Woowoo and hoo! Whoot whoot whoot! Aaaaahooooga! Aaaaahhooooogaaaa! Wheeeeee!

    Can you tell I’m thrilled? (That or I’m a car alarm.)

    Way to rock my world, Jaden. Email on its way. Thank you!

  7. Mansi

    Whoa!! The fondue looks so inviting!! great job there by your husband:)

    Congrats to all the vanilla winners too! and thanks to you for hosting such a fun event! I’ll try to be a part of it next time:)

  8. Steve

    Amazing … I just posted on our family blog about the down-home goodness of beer and cheddar fondue at http://tinyurl.com/2uc292 and the next day I’m greeted by your beautiful fondue photo in my Google Reader. Your wonderful presentation gives me something to aspire to.

    And, of course, your recipe also gives us something to consider. I’ve loved using Guinness before but my wife feels that it’s too strong for the dish. Maybe the addition of apple juice concentrate is what’s been missing. We’ll definitely have to try that (along with the kid-friendly pigs-in-a-blanket idea).

    Great post!

  9. Nate

    Beautiful photos of the fondue. Now I know what to do with that can of Guiness that’s been sitting in the back of the fridge…

    Thanks to Nathan and Andrew for picking me…your check is in the mail ;-)

  10. Nate

    Oh, and we totally identify with what you mean about the hassles of inviting people over to the House of Annie for a meal and also wishing people would invite us to their houses. We’ve even had friends tell us straight out that they’re afraid to invite us over because we’re such foodies.

  11. John P

    Hahaha if you lived near, we would have you and your husband over for dinner! You wouldn’t even have to do any dishes!

  12. Single Guy Chef

    Cheddar cheese and Guinness, who knew? Oh, I guess you did! Wicked combo, can’t wait to try! BTW, I live in a studio and that’s my excuse for not inviting the neighbors! ;-)

  13. susan g

    Well, Jaden, I was going to invite you to dinner, but I see there’s a line. How about brunch? And even at brunch we intimidate our guests (pumpkin empanadas with cilantro chutney, anyone?)
    …so how about a progressive dinner with the neighbors? And cleaning up before: my husband just picks everything up and it’ll be months before I find anything. What did we do with little kids in the house, anyway? Maybe at your next dinner you just put out boxes of duck balls, etc!

  14. Melissa

    Wow, cheddar and guinness and apple juice… it sounds just crazy enough to work! Since fondue season has just officially opened chez nous, this one is definitely going on the list.

  15. Jaded

    Congrats to those who won! I’m so jealous! >:p

    Jaden – I totally know what you’re saying about having people over all the time and hardly ever getting invited elsewhere to have someone clean, cook and clean again. I used to have people over all the time and it sucked even though I had fun at the time. I guess people don’t realize how much time and effort is put forth on their behalf. I also don’t have a nice big kitchen with the latest appliances so it makes cooking and cleaning that much harder! Let’s just say that if you ever invite me over, I’ll clean everything just to get a sampling of your impressive recipes and techniques ;)

  16. Lynn

    Wow, I can’t believe I won! Thank you!!

    The fondue looks wonderful. I love how you captured the steam coming off it.

  17. Anonymous

    Hej, Jaden
    Your photos and recipes look very very delicious!! How I wish I could just order my pc to “Do it!” and the wonderful dishes would just materialize in front on me! Aah, until that day comes…

    Please do not misunderstand me, I am not lazy because I would love to cook them myself but we do not have the ingredients in this little village so up north. So, I am reduced to drooling for the moment until we can drive four hours for the nearest Oriental store! (For that, I would have to bribe my husband!) ;)

    Oh, before I forget, I thought I would share this site with you, perhaps more for your boys. The artist, Satzinger (http://paperwalker.blogspot.com/), just posted a printable paper plane for Christmas. When I saw your boys in this post today, I thought they might enjoy it! :)

    Do continue your great work! You inspire me to get the bribe through!

  18. daphne

    congrats to all the winners!! Lucky u! =)

    The cheese fondue looks great! I can see cosy evenings with good friends over that pot!

  19. wmw

    Ahhh…it’s been a busy time for me. Hopping over and seeing pics of the fondue and your two kids made me smile. Nice, just when I’m about to call it a night over here.

    P.S. How about voting for me and my team and help us win? Come over to my blog to read about it…We took a 10 hour leisurely drive from Kuala Lumpur to Penang and ate along the way!

  20. tigerfish

    And you call this fondue a simple, low-maintenance meal ? It’s such a luxury to me. I love how you captured the smoke from the “fondue” pot….:D

    You know…eating cheese always increases my appetite…and makes me hungrier…I wonder why.

  21. Carol

    Congratulations to all the lucky winners!
    Aren’t these the two most adorable little fellas in the whole wide world??!!

  22. desie the maybahay

    i lived in switzerland and never heard of this fondue combo!
    very interesting ingredients, i know my husband will be a fondue convert once i make this. thanks for the recipe.

  23. dhanggit

    it such a long time i havent had my fondue… looking at these pictures its gonna be even harder for me to do my diet, coz since i gave birth 3 months ago i have been avoiding on cheeses….your photos gave me so much envie to try them :-)

  24. joey

    Aged cheddar and Guinness in a fondue??? Wow! That does sound like the top of the fondue pinnacle…and pigs in a blanket as dippers…now why didn’t I think of that? Thanks for sharing this!

    Congratulations to the vanilla winners! :)

  25. Tanya

    Funny, I just made something very similar.
    (Umm, and would it be creepy to ask if I could eat your children? They’re adorable)

  26. Kiriel

    Living in Switzerland, fondue is compulsory! But even back home in Australia, I loved a good fondue party. Try apple cider (alcoholic cider that is) and jarlsburg cheese for a delicious change; beautiful!

  27. jamie anne

    hullo!
    any other substitutes for aged cheddar? i mean, i live in Switzerland but damn, we don’t HAVE cheddar… i got sneered at asking if they had some at the super… or would Gruyere go okay?

  28. Valli

    We always have cheese fondue and chocolate fondue on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why I have to wait for a special occasion to dip my fork into it. I like the addition of the apple juice concentrate into the mix. Thanks for the recipe!!!!

  29. Kiriel

    You can find cheddar in Coop here in Switzerland if you are lucky, however if you are having problems, I would give raclette cheese a try. I can picture my Swiss friends reeling back in horror at the thought of using any cheese but Gruyere or Emmental in a fondue, but I think that raclette is closer in taste than a gruyere to cheddar.

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  32. Golden Age Cheese

    The aged cheddar cheese and Guinness idea is brilliant. I never thought of it/ heard of it and I will definitely be trying it. Thanks for sharing this idea! How many years old was the aged cheddar cheese? I like the super sharp cheese (the sharper the better).

    me too! love aged cheddar. i don’t remember how old the cheddar was though. ~jaden

    1. SteamyKitchen

      I don’t – I like my veggies raw. But you are welcome to lightly steam the veg first. Just careful not to overcook otherwise they won’t be sturdy enough to pierce with fork and dip in cheese/

  33. Barbara Kiebel

    I have a beer and cheese fondue but wanted something different…so thanks. But more importantly how I REALLY loved your stating the obvious…as much as I love to entertain, do ya think someone could maybe, just possibly invite me over. Once?

    Or maybe take 30 minutes to bake me something, anything for Christmas? Maybe while they’re waiting for their expected gift of a bag full of goodies (that were not made by tiny elves, by the way!).

    Whew..OK, a bit better now, thanks for helping me vent!

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