Thursday, July 19, 2012

Broth Fondue: Quick, Healthy, Easy, Inexpensive... Fantastic!

Broth fondue is my favorite meal to prepare when we have people over for dinner.  We like it so much, we sometimes make this meal for ourselves as well.  It looks like it takes a lot of work to prepare but it doesn't at all, and it's also a relatively inexpensive way to feed a bunch of people at a time.

For broth fondue you need to have a fondue pot (of course).  Ours is electric and I see them all the time at stores for $40~$50, but I actually got ours at Value Village a few years ago,  unopened, new in the box, for only $5!   It came with fondue forks but ours disappeared when we moved last so I picked up new ones at the loonie store.  You can also use regular skewers if you can't find any forks.  With regular skewers I mark them with felt pens so we can tell whose stick it is when it's cooking in the pot.

With broth fondue you can cook a mix of veggies, meats, and seafoods.  I prefer to do seafood, although you can also use thinly sliced chicken pieces or tender, thin cuts of beef.  The veggies we always use are broccoli, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, various coloured peppers, green beans, and snap peas.  You can use any vegetable you like as long as it will hold together on a fondue fork or skewer (peas and corn won't work, for example).  The pieces of food, vegetable or otherwise,  must be cut relatively small and laid out on a platter.  Veggies generally take about 2-3 minutes to cook, while beef and chicken take about 1-2 minutes, and fish takes only 30 to 60 seconds! 

The idea behind broth fondue is that you and your guests fill your skewers with meat and veggies and cook them in broth.  I like to prepare my broth on the stove and then transfer it to the fondue pot when it's fully cooked.  I usually lightly heat sesame oil in the bottom of a stock pot and then add garlic and onion, saute it a bit and then add enough chicken broth to fill my fondue pot 1.5 times (some will evaporate away as you are eating).  I sometimes add honey and/or soy sauce as well, and I always toss some green onions in at the end.

You can offer rice as a side dish if you want, and I always put out some bits of fruit to snack on as well.   When we made it yesterday we tossed some udon noodles right into the broth and pulled them out to eat when the fondue pot wasn't super full.  

I like this meal because it's really hands on, interesting, and takes longer to eat than a prepared meal.  It's also nice because when people ask "what should we bring?" you can ask them to bring some cut veggies or meat pieces. It's interesting to see what people decide to bring.

Some other ideas when preparing this meal are to have multiple fondue pots cooking; maybe one for meat and one for veggies (in case you have some vegetarian guests).  You can also have different broth flavours, such as a spicy broth and a mild broth.  You can also put out various dips so people can dip their cooked veggies and meat.

The one down side of this meal is that if you have toddlers running around, it can be dangerous for them if they have access to the fondue pot, so be mindful of this when choosing a spot to leave the fondue pot.

We really need to get an "adult" sized table at some point :)


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