Monday, February 15, 2010

Fondue Dinner

This Valentine's Day I prepared a delicious fondue dinner for my boyfriend who had never eaten fondue before. We cooked chicken breasts, steak, and dough in oil. I made a Caprese Salad to accompany the meal.  Hope you enjoy the pictures from our dinner!

The Pot
A good hot oil fondue pot will usually be made from steel, copper, or enameled cast iron. It will have short handles to avoid being knocked over and can go up to very high temperatures (375 degrees Fahrenheit). It should be curved at the top or have splashguards to avoid hot oil splatters.  My pot is electric and it has a plug that is magnetized, so the slightest pull on the cord separates the cord from the pot.  This is a great safety feature and I'd recommend that you research the safety features of pots before you purchase one.

The Oil
Popular oils for meat fondue are vegetable, canola, grapeseed, and peanut oil. Peanut oil and grapeseed oil are the highest quality, but they are also the most expensive. Vegetable and canola oil work fairly well, although vegetable shortening is preferred to either of these because it has less odor. Oil should be heated to just below the boiling point (about 375 degrees Fahrenheit). A deep-frying thermometer is a handy tool for helping to determine the temperature of the oil.

The Meat
Choose a tender cut of beef such as tenderloin (recommended) or sirloin. The more it is aged the better. Use chicken breasts as well! Meat should be cut into ¾ inch cubes and have all fat and sinew removed. Plan for six ounces of meat per person.

The Bread
Purchase some unrisen dough that you should be able to find in the freezer section of your local grocery store.  Thaw the dough and cut into bite size pieces.  Lay these pieces out on a baking sheet or large plate.  Place a light towel over the dough and let rise in a warm location for a few hours.  Directions can usually be found on the dough's package.  Make sure to serve the bread with garlic butter - just melt butter with smashed garlic.

The Dipping Sauces
Raid your pantry and refrigerator for various sauces that can be used in which to dip the meat.  Examples: A1, BBQ, teriyaki, hot sauce, rooster sauce, and melted garlic butter (for the dough puffs).

Fondue Dinner

Chicken Breasts
Beef tenderloin or sirloin
Oil (enough to fill half of your pan)

Trim fat and sinew from beef and cut into ¾ inch chunks. Blot with paper towel and put in refrigerator while oil is heating. In a medium saucepan, heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer to fondue pot. Do not overfill the pot. About half full works best.

Spear a chunk of beef with fondue fork and place in hot oil. Cook until beef is done to your satisfaction (approximately 30 seconds for rare, 45 for medium-rare, and 1 minute to well done). Remove from fork and transfer to plate (fondue fork will be very hot). Eat with sauces of your choice.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep-frying thermometer. You can still test the temperature of the oil for cooking. Simply drop a bread cube into the oil and see if it turns golden brown within 30 seconds.

Too many fondue forks in the pot at one time will lower the temperature of the oil and cause the meat to not cook properly. 




*Most of this information comes directly from a really helpful fondue website

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