When I was little (in the late 1980s, early 1990s) fondues seemed the height of fashion. I remember my parents once taking me to a restaurant to eat meat fondue when I was really little and it was so exciting! We also used to eat fondues at home and still do, as we all love it.
In Sweden it’s quite popular with a broth fondue (you cook the meat in the broth) but in my family we have always preferred oil.
My first ten years in London I didn’t eat a single meat fondue here (although you can in some places) but I of course had it with my parents when I went home to visit. Meat fondues are just not that popular here; it’s the cheese fondue that has found traction here. In fact, if you just say fondue in Sweden you mean the meat version, but if you say it here in the UK people will presume you’re talking about cheese!
But then I met my boyfriend, who had, not just one, but two cast iron fondue pots in his cupboard and grew up eating meat fondues too. With oil. So last year in lockdown we had a few fondue nights. I learned how to make cheese fondue (more on that later) and merged both of our meat fondue traditions into one.
It was so much fun (it’s a great date night or small dinner party activity) and so yummy! This year I might do a fondue for Valentin’e Day or maybe even two (a meat one AND a chocolate one). We’ll see.
Our Meat Fondue, serves 2
Meat: We decided on three types of meat; beef, pork and chicken, and I went for the fillet in all three cases. About 100 g of each type of meat per person, which is quite a lot, but we managed.
Potatoes and vegetables: I definitely prefer warm potatoes, so made potato wedges, but fries or chips would work too. I’m used to having just a salad but thought it would be fun to cook vegetables in the fondue pot as well. We had mushrooms, broccoli and peppers. The broccoli was our favourite!
Sauces: I made homemade bearnaise sauce and a sweet chilli creme fraiche sauce to go with the chicken and pork. Both delicious!
Fondue pot, fuel and oil: We used one fondue pot for two people, but for four people I would recommend two pots if you have, as it gets crowded otherwise and the meat doesn’t cook as fast. I ordered gel fuel from Amazon which worked so well and felt easier to handle than liquid fuel. It also didn’t smell very much. Most important with oil is that it’s one that can take high temperatures, like vegetable oil, warm pressed rapeseed oil or groundnut oil. I also heat it up properly on the stove first and then transfer it to the fondue pot, so it’s warm to begin with. I recommend three forks (or maybe even four) per person, with two it’s a bit too slow, especially if you cook the vegetables too.