The first time I tried a fondue was way back in 2008. After having spent my first 3 months in northern Italy, I decided it was time to venture a bit north, across the border, nestled in the foothills of the Alps, to the great land of Switzerland. I loved Switzerland! It is just as one would expect it to be, like out of the pages of Heidi, magnificent snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys and quaint little gingerbread house-looking abodes.
I had an excuse to go. A Swiss friend I had met during my time living in Banff, Alberta, back in my early 20s, lived quite near the Swiss-Italian border. We got in contact and before I knew it, I was on a train heading towards Brig, Switzerland.
Christian was the quintessential Swiss man. He was an avid outdoorsman, going on daily hikes on and about the mountains. He was an excellent skier, once mistakenly being over-confident in my skiing abilities, bringing me off the well-beaten ski slope path into what must have been 3 feet of fresh powder, expecting me to miraculously make it down the hill, on skis! It didn’t work out so well. I vaguely remember frustratingly stomping through that deep snow to get back down the mountain to civilization.
He was enthusiastic about typical Swiss cuisine. It was then and there, on that first trip to Switzerland, that Christian introduced me to the traditional Swiss fondue, which is actually prepared with cheese, not broth, into which you dip bread. Not exactly the most calorie-wise, but certainly effective when on cold, energy-consuming hikes through the Alps.
Over time, the fondue has evolved and nowadays, you can find all sorts of fondues: broth or oil fondue, often called bourgiuignonne, consisting of dipping thinly sliced meat or veggies in broth or oil. This is quite an entertaining main dish. You can also find chocolate fondue, dipping fresh fruit in the chocolate of your choice: dark, milk or even white chocolate. Equally as good, equally (if not more) entertaining.
Always on a quest to find the healthiest way of preparing a meal, without sacrificing too much of the goodness factor, I chose to prepare broth fondue. I went next door to my fave butcher at le District, here in Battery Park, and asked him to prepare for me some thinly-sliced sirloin. I would have also included some nice shrimp in this meal plan, but to my unpleasant surprise, the fishmonger was completely out of shrimp! Incroyable! Don’t let that stop you though; shrimp would definitely be a fantastic addition to this recipe.
Feel free to add or substitute any of the veggies or protein. There are loads of variations. Listed below are some options:
Potatoes (small cubes)
Carrots (thinly sliced)
Hot pepper sauce
Blue (or Gorgonzola) cheese
32 oz beef broth
1 head garlic sliced in half
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground black pepper
Raw veggies and protein of your choice (see options above)
- In a fondue pot, combine all broth, garlic, water, soy sauce, bay leaf and black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
- Dip dippers and leave in broth until cooked through.