Meat Fondue – the German way
Here in Germany, Fondue is reserved for special days of the year. Most families I know stage it during holiday season in December or January. It is an 80’s kind of dish, one that can make large groups of people happy, keep them entertained and offer a fun eating context.
In Germany’s Southwest, near the Swiss border, people tend to prefer our neighbours’ cheesy version, which is made from Vacherin cheese from Fribourg (a town in Switzerland), as well as the strong and savoury Greyerzer and Appenzeller cheeses. The cheese gets flavoured with dry white wine, some garlic, a shot of crystal-clear Kirsch (German Kirschwasser… a Schnaps), nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Cheese Fondue tends to hang around in the stomach for a prolonged amount of time. It is a dish that requires stern commitment in terms of timing, combining and then digesting. You have to take your time eating it, making sure that at least a few of the condiments are more healthy or greener in colour than the globs of bread and cheese you will proceed putting in your mouth for the rest of the meal.
Salad is a popular side-dish, as well as small pieces of pineapple, oranges, apples, pears and more cheese in cubes, that has been spiked with small slivers of garlic. Eating it this way would be pretty Swiss. To make it even more Swiss, drink black tea with it as well as a little white wine, this is how it’s done in Switzerland.
Meat Fondue is my kind of Fondue, hence the fact I am German. I say it like that because, you must know, Germans like turning foreign foods into their own, adding the odd little Teutonic tweak here an there. Meat Fondue is of Asian Origin, but ze Germans have Germanized it.
To make it – the German way – you need two pots and two of the so-called ‘Rechaud’. This is the little construction on which the Fondue pot rests. Fill one pot with vegetable stock, the other with hot oil.
Prepare your condiments (see list below) and sauces some time before you set the table. Be imaginative, add whatever your taste buds crave. Mayonnaise or Remoulade always goes well with meat fondue, so does the flavour of curry. Try and integrate these two into one of your sauces or side-dishes.
1. Homemade Barbecue Sauce, 2. Dijon Mustard, 3. Cumberland Sauce, 4. Curried Ketchup, 5. Aioli with Eggs, 6. Herb Remoulade, 7. Chicken Breast, 8. Beef (Rump), 9. Pork (Neck), 10. Frozen potato wedges , 11. Breaded Cauliflower, 12. Breaded fresh Prawns, 13. Blue cheese dressing, 14. Salad Mix, 15. Rechaud
Stock or Oil?
When cooked or fried in oil, the meat will get nice and crispy as opposed to boiled when cooked in stock.
Stock however makes a lighter and less calorie-intense alternative. I recommend to have a pot of each.
Which type of oil or stock?
Use an oil that is neutral in taste. Rapeseed is ok, so is sunflower or peanut oil.
For the stock, use a rich vegetable or good veal stock
Which type of meat is best?
I love beef and chicken. Good quality beef doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. You can eat it crispy on the outside and pink on the inside. Chicken lends itself well for crispness. Any meat will work, the only important thing is the size of your pieces. These shouldn’t be too large to make sure your meat cooks all the way through.
How much meat do you need?
Depending on whether you serve a starter and /or dessert, you should calculate with 250-300 g of meat per head.
Wih three different types of meat this means 100g per type and person.
What kind of sauces work well?
There are so many to choose from, some firm favourites are: garlic mayonnaise, Aioli, Rouille, Skorfalia (potato, olive oil, garlic purée), chutney (try strawberry and plum, or onion marmalade), egg sauce, curried eggs, wild garlic and roasted red pepper Tapenade, almond purée with chili and garlic, vinaigrette with anchovies, herbs and capers, coriander and chili salsa, Tsatsiki, Pistou, Lime-Pickles, Gherkin and potato salad etc.
Which condiments shall I serve?
Definitely serve rustic bread. You can also serve small, new potatoes boiled in their skin, salads, fresh green beans or any other vegetable you like. Vegetables can also be dipped into the hot oil again.
Wine or Beer?
Drinks are a matter of personal preferences. Beer is commendable as you will get thirsty, a light red wine, maybe a Valpolicella or a Pinot Noir. A Riesling will work well if your sauces have an oriental note.