Updated: May 26
Inspired by the traditional Québec style fondue feast, at home, from scratch and for two.
First, I have to introduce the concept of this traditional Québec fondue we call a Fondue Chinoise. There are absolutely no Asian ingredients in our version but it has been adapted from the Chinese communal hot-pot feast and the Swiss Bourguignonne fondues. Along with the cheese one, they have been popularized in North America in the 50’s and most people of my generation grew up with these convivial, never ending dinners on special occasions. This broth has red wine in it and the whole dinner flows well with it. It comes with a “rule” that if you drop a piece in the pot, you kiss the person sitting on your left… I don’t think it would be the best idea in our days of pandemic era to share a dipping meal with a group of people, but you can surely make this at home with your loved one*. It took us few experiments to get it right as before moving to Australia, I had never made this from scratch. In Québec, all sorts of fondue products are readily available at most supermarkets (like dipping sauces, broth tins, extra fine sliced meat trays including beef, chicken, pork, dear, duck, bison, etc.). It is not as popular here downunder but have a look in a second-hand shop for a set if you want to give this a go. I found this quality cast iron one for $2 and I love it! Here’s how you can make this fondue easily and safely. Lockdown or not, light up some candles and enjoy this romantic winter weekend slow dinner at home!
* You can also have this fondue with your safe bubble family by adjusting the quantity of meat and veggies and supervise children around the burner.
A TRADITIONAL FONDUE SET SHOULD INCLUDE*:
Cast iron or stainless steel pot (sometimes comes with a removable splatter)
Fondue forks (usually comes in 6 different colours to identify guests)
Mesh spoons (usually not included but handy and easy to find)
Stand (also called réchaud)
Burner and lid
Fondue plates with multi-compartments (optional and normally not included in a set)
Safety tip: Use methylated spirits or fondue fire gel in the burner. Make sure you don’t over fill it and put it on the stand base and on a safe clear surface that would contain a potential leak. Never blow on a flaming leak to extinguish it (this is how a table could catch on fire), just let it reduce or put the burner lid on when you are done.
* For a chocolate fondue, it is better to use a smaller set, which is usually ceramic and heated with tea light candles. For a cheese fondue, you can use a ceramic, cast iron or non-stick pot set with tea light candles. Check out also Aussie Alps Cheese Fondue recipe.
Broth (to go into a standard fondue pot)
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
1 pack of 35g French Onion soup base
1 tsp of beef stock powder
1 cup of red wine
3 cups of water
Mains (a variety of meat and veggies is lovely in group but here are my suggestions for two)
Meat: Choice of one (or two if you prefer) tender cut like beef eye filet or pork, chicken, game, prawns (shrimp) and tofu. About 200g per person.
Vegetables: Pieces of broccoli and mushrooms or add cauliflower, carrots and zucchinis for more.
All extras can be cooked into the broth at the end and saved for a leftover meal.
Potatoes (steamed) and/or bread (French baguette sliced)
Green salad if desired
Dip sauces (at least 2 or 3 different varieties, here are some very traditional ones)
Dijonnaise: mayonnaise and Dijon mustard
American: mayonnaise and “Ketchup” tomato sauce
Béarnaise: mayonnaise with chopped tarragon and spring onion
Devil sauce: onions, spices and tomato sauce *recipe to come
Prep the dips and set aside in the fridge.
About half an hour before dinner, put the meat in freezer (it will help when cutting very thin slices).
Cook the potatoes (oven bake or steam).
Prep the broth in the fondue pot on the stove by mixing all ingredients and bring to the boil.
Prep veggies and blanch the harder ones to soften slightly.
Set the table and make sure the fondue pot is on a safe base and surface.
Cut the meat finely and put in a serving dish on the table with the dips, veggies and sides plates.
Light up the burner with precautions.
Roll up some meat slices with a fondue fork and dip in the pot to cook as you like it!
Veggies can be cooked loose in the broth and scooped up with a mesh spoon when cooked.
*Food safety precautions tips: always leave raw meat in the serving plate (always separate chicken to avoid cross-contamination) and pick up with the fondue fork. On personal plates, only have sides, dips, veggies and cooked meat. For other health safety measures, only use the fondue fork for dipping in the fondue pot and eat with a normal fork.
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