Fondue gets host out of kitchen, back into party
After running around for gifts, sending holiday cards and working longer hours in the leadup to Christmas weekend, a five-hour turkey roast with all the trimmings somehow loses its appeal.
If you're hosting this holiday season, you might let the sit-down bird dinner concept fly and try something new, suggests Ryan Jennings, co-author of Cooking With Booze.
It’s a lighter, more social alternative for dinner, Jennings says.
There are three fondue broths, by Canton, that Jennings represents (990-ml cans): Original (onions, horseradish, white wine and spices primarily), red wine and white wine.
In the original, there are 70 calories for every 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the original broth, along with 1.7 grams of fat and 109 mg of sodium.
Better than the peanut or fatty vegetable oils used in the 1960s and ’70s when fondue hit its stride.
As for the dipping sauces, choose from Béarnaise, Bourguignonne, Dijonnaise and Wild Honey & Garlic.
The 30-year-old chooses beef with the red wine broth as his favourite, accompanied with the dijonnaise dipping sauce.
"It gets the host or hostess out of the kitchen and into the party," Jennings says. "You can enjoy a glass of wine instead of carving the turkey."
And with an hour of prep — chopping up chicken, beef, shrimp, peppers and more, putting them on trays and wrapping them up — "it takes 15 minutes to throw it all on the table."
Then, people mill around the table, stabbing hunks of meat or vegetable and cooking them in the pot or pots, chatting and eating at their own pace. "There’s less tendency to overeat. Generally, you'll have two forks so they can be cooking and eating at the same time."
Just remember which fork belongs to the table.
Cleanup is quicker, too.
"There’s no pots and pans. Well, there's one pot, the fondue pot.
"You don’t have that terrible roasting pan, the creamed vegetable casserole (dish) that has seen better days. I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate that."
Longo’s offers pre-packaged fondue meat — razor-thin slices of beef — while Longo's Fortinos, Loblaws, Great Canadian Superstores and Zehrs have the Canton products.
... but if you just have to have turkey ...
So you wanna talk turkey fondue.
Jennings says it's a snap - it takes one-quarter the time of a traditional turkey dinner.
"Buy skinless, boneless turkey breast, and cut it into thin slices or cubes."
If you want to use the Canton broths, Jennings suggests the original or white wine varieties.
As for the trimmings, French baguettes, green beans, red, green and orange peppers to add colour, broccoli, baby carrots and mini-parisian potatoes.
Even mini-spuds take longer to cook - 15 minutes in the fondue pot, Jennings says. They'll be part of your pre-party prep work when you're chopping veggies and meat.
"Parboil them for 7-10 minutes until tender. Then it's only 1-2 minutes to cook" in the fondue pot, Jennings says.
"Serve with cranberry sauce, and it's complete."
The Drop-In, Pop-Over Dinner Party
Find yourself a little frazzled when the in-laws pop in unexpectedly? Don’t fret, with a few ingredients on hand you can impress the most discriminating palate and this sophisticated fondue can solidify any shaky relationship. Use a very sharp knife to make thin slices of beef and slice against the grain to maximize tenderness.
New Year’s Eve –— Under the Sea
Celebrate the New Year with a seafood-inspired dinner party. Impress your guests with a selection of fine fish and shellfish and be sure to have lots of bubbly on hand to properly bring in 2007. Remember, it’s always best to buy fresh, so if any of the suggestions below aren’t available, scour your local seafood counter for the freshest selection.
The Weary Cook’s Instant Fondue
Looking for a break from all those heavy holiday meals? The menu below is ideal for a quick and easy supper when time and effort is of the essence! With a few fresh vegetables on hand and a short shopping list that includes mini-stuffed pasta you’ll have an instant dinner that satisfies every member of the family. Plan ahead and keep the meat and pasta in the freezer—ready for when that fondue feeling hits.