See that nice round burn in my coffee table? Yep, that happened two months after we’d purchased that brand new coffee table for our first home. Believe it or not, a dish towel does NOT protect a wood table from being burned by a flaming hot fondue pot. It’s been eight years since that little incident and truthfully it makes me smile every time I see it. It’s an ever-present reminder of one of my favorite things…..the Barger family Christmas fondue tradition. Since I began my blog about nine months ago, I have eagerly anticipated sharing this recipe and tradition with you. Barger family fondue night is absolutely, positively one of my very favorite nights of the year. The tradition started in the Barger family years ago. The night that the family put up their Christmas tree, they would sit around the coffee table near the newly lit up tree slowly enjoying courses of cheese and meat fondue and playing a little Christmas tree “I spy.” I was lucky to marry into this tradition. I was dating my husband in 1997 and was invited to my first fondue night. Little did I know then (5 ½ years before we got married) what a meaningful tradition this would become to me as well. A few years later my mother-in-law gave my sister-in-law and me our very own fondue pots before we had even married the Barger boys (I guess that indicated that she hoped we’d be around for awhile). I still cherish this original fondue pot which I still use every year (although I’ve got my eyes on a funky new Cuisinart electric one!). Most years Mike and I and our girls have our own little fondue night as well as our larger one with Grammy, Papa and the rest of the gang. We did it the other night and because this meal is a little bit different to prepare, the pictures are pretty much as is…there was no fancy staging or lighting. But as always, it’s really about the food, right? And I assure you, this is good food and I’m thrilled to share it.
Barger Christmas Fondue
First Course – Cheese Fondue (Serves 4)
1/3 lb gruyere cheese, freshly grated
2/3 lb swiss cheese, freshly grated
generous dash of dry mustard
dash of nutmeg
2 tsp corn starch
1 clove garlic
dry white wine (appx. 8 oz)
2 french baguettes, cut into 1 in pieces
Grate the gruyere and swiss cheese. Mix grated cheese with 2 tsp cornstarch, a dash of dry mustard and a dash of nutmeg.
Rub inside of fondue pot with a peeled garlic clove (really get it in there to get the garlic flavor onto the pot). Heat white wine in fondue pot until it gives off steam (not boiling). Drop a handful of cheese into the hot wine and stir until melted. Continue until all cheese is melted. Stir more until it thickens slightly. Enjoy with cut up pieces of baguette or apple slices.
Second Course – Beef Fondue (Serves 4)
2 lbs top sirloin or filet mignon, cut in 1 in. pieces (appx. ½ lb per person)
Vegetable oil (fill fondue pot about 2-3 inches high with oil)
Sauces: BBQ, Ketchup, Mayo (or Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt), Horseradish, Dijon and/or Whole Grain Mustard
Bring oil to a medium-high heat. Cook meat on fondue fork until cooked through. Dip in awesome sauces and enjoy!
Easy Dipping Sauces:
— Barbecue Sauce plus Ketchup (about equal parts)
— Mayo, Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt plus horseradish (about 3:1 ration or to taste)
— Mayo, Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt plus Dijon Mustard and/or Whole Grain Mustard (about 2:1 ration or to taste)
*Mayo usually produces the best results, but cut it with yogurt to keep it a little healthier.
*We did not have it in these pictures, but we almost always serve my mother-in-law’s Classic Homemade Caesar Salad with the Meat Fondue. Click link to get the recipe that I posted a few months ago.