Sunday, March 14, 2010

Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue

There are two things you should know about me.  One is that I love cooking for holidays, no matter how obscure or irrelevant to my personal culture.  The second is that the smell of slow-roasted corned beef and boiled cabbage makes me want to vomit into my hand.  While I've endured many a traditional St. Patty's day meal, I was thrilled to find a recipe that's festive and delicious, with ingredients I was excited to prepare.  This fondue combines some of my favorite vegetables with a rich cheesy sauce that features delicious Irish cheddar and a splash of dark Irish stout.

 Vegetables!  Are healthy!  See, don't say I never make anything nutritious.  Red potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are all steamed together in a big pot.  If you've never steamed vegetables before, simply pour a small amount of water (about 1 inch) into a large pot, and bring it to a boil.
Throw the vegetables in, and cover the pot with a lid.  The steam will be trapped in, and will make the vegetables tender and delicious.  Hey dieters:  steaming adds absolutely zero fat, so it's a great way to get your veggies in without adding oil or butter.
Hey non-dieters:  Let's make a cheese sauce!
Dijon mustard, Irish cheddar, Guinness, and apple juice concentrate.  We had this apple cider in the fridge, so that's what I went with.
Irish cheddar is delicious.  And expensive.  The recipe calls for a pound of it, but here's a secret:  I used 7 oz of the good stuff with 9 oz of sharp cheddar cheese (the domestic cheaper version).  The recipe was still awesome, so don't fret if $5.99 for 7 ounces of cheese makes you a bit twitchy.
Let your Guinness, mustard, and apple juice simmer in a pot.
While your liquids are heating, you can grate your cheese.  Here's the Irish cheddar...
Mixed with the domestic cheddar and some flour.  Stir this mixture together so that everything is combined.

Now toss the floured cheese into the beer/juice mixture.
And whisk until everything is combined.  After a few minutes, your cheese will melt into gooey tasty deliciousness.
By now, your veggies are steamed and ready!
Chop up a green apple or two...
And make yourself a little bowl o' cheese sauce!
Now combine the steamed vegetables with your apples.  Happy dipping!  Here's to a tasty St. Patty's meal!
Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue
From Bon Appetit, March 2006

2 cups 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes, halved
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups very small brussels sprouts
2 apples, cored, cut into wedges
1 pound Irish cheddar cheese, grated
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup (or more) Irish stout (such as Guinness)
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. so refreshing to see an irish themed post that isn't irish soda bread! the fondue looks amaaazing!

  2. I die. I need some of this in my life.

    I guess I'll make myself feel better by eating cake with you this weekend...

  3. @aforaubergine: Thanks! I especially love the idea of potatoes in fondue, not sure why I hadn't seen that anywhere before. I do think a square of soda bread dipped in cheese sauce would be pretty scrumptious too...

    @Shannyn: There is cake. Everywhere. I can't wait to see you at the weddin'!

  4. I made this for a potluck last Friday and it was a HUGE hit. I used Killaree cheddar from Whole Foods (it was a little over $10 for the pound, but totally worth it) and served with green apples and bread. Even the people who were skeptical of a stout and cheese combo couldn't stop eating it. I'm going to be making this at MANY parties to come. Thanks for the wonderful (and EASY!) recipe!


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