Fondue Magronen

On our most recent trip to Switzerland, we finally tried Fondue (at Whymper Stube in Zermatt, which coincidentally is the same restaurant where we first tried Raclette in 2017). We can’t claim to be proud of the fact that it took us until our third trip to order it, but we are so glad we did! Later in the trip, we attempted to make it from our flat in Grindelwald…we went to a local cheese shop near the Coop and purchased Eiger Raclette, Eiger Bergführer, and Grindelwalder Bergkase. You can’t get fresher cheese than that! However, we were missing a few key ingredients (namely, Kirschwasser and Corn Starch) and decided to press forward without them and hope for the best. While the taste wasn’t too shabby, our first fondue was not quite ready to post here because the consistency was a little off.

Now we are home, and we have access to all of the ingredients we need to make fondue. However, we currently don’t own a caquelon (fondue pot)…which sort of puts a damper on the idea of Fondue Night. However, we still had some dark rye pasta that we brought home from a previous trip to Switzerland, so we decided to make a fondue style cheese to be the sauce in our macaroni and cheese dinner. It was a little more effort (and required an extra cooking pan) compared to our other mac and cheese adventures, but it was by far the creamiest and most full flavoured version we have ever had…so much so that my wife didn’t even put ketchup on it (don’t ask).

The write-up of this post could not be complete without addressing the recipe name. Since the cheese sauce was made in the same manner as you would make the cheese component of Fondue, and then we sort of dunked everything (noodles, Swiss Chard, Turkey Bacon) all in at once, I took a liberty and called it Fondue. I have been advised by a friend though (in no uncertain terms) that since I’m not dipping things directly into the cheese at the table, this dish should be named “Fondon’t Magronen.” I’ll let you be the judge…Whatever you opt to call it, I think you’ll enjoy this meal.

Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients (for two servings):

  • Pasta of your Choice. We used Dark Rye Rotini
  • For the Cheese Sauce:
    • 2/3 of a pound of good melting cheese.
      • We used two different types of Mutschli that we froze and then thawed so it would crumble and melt better
      • Other (easier to find) cheese options are:
        • Gruyere and Emmentaler
        • Gruyere and Raclette
        • Gruyere and Appenzeller
    • 1/2 Cup of Dry White Wine. We used a steel aged Chardonnay
    • 1 Tablespoon Kirschwasser (or Cherry Brandy)
    • 1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
    • Paprika
    • Black Pepper
    • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Any ingredients you want to stir in. We used Sliced Swiss Chard and Turkey Bacon.

Method:

  • Begin to boil some water in a large pot.
  • Wash your Swiss chard, remove the stems, and cut the leaves into thin strips. Then, sautee them (with or without your bacon), and set them aside. OR pre-cook any other ingredients you want to stir in instead of the chard/bacon, and set aside.
  • Shred your cheese with a grater or the shredding attachment of your food processor. Since we froze our cheese and then thawed it, it crumbled nicely, and we were able to simply cut it rather than shredding.
  • Cut a garlic clove in half, and rub it around the bottom of a large cast iron pan to get a nice little shiny layer of garlic goodness.
  • Begin to heat the cast iron pan over medium heat, and when it is hot, turn the heat off (if using a burner with a flame), and pour in your wine. Then, turn the heat back on to medium low. (Turning off the flames before pouring in your wine will prevent any potential for a flare-up).
  • Add your pasta to the boiling water, and let it start to cook now…it will be ready in perfect time.
  • When your wine comes to a good simmer, add in your cheese, allow to begin to melt, and then whisk to combine.
  • As your cheese sauce becomes smoother, whisk in your paprika and black pepper.
  • As your cheese cooks, mix your kirschwasser and corn starch together in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • When your pasta is nearly ready, add your kirshcwasser/constarch mixture to your cheesey sauce, and whisk to combine. Then, allow it to thicken a bit. You’ll notice that it will start to stick to your whisk…this is good.
  • Drain your pasta, and add it to your cheese sauce pan, and then put your Swiss Chard/Turkey Bacon (or other additional ingredients) you like in the pan as well, and stir to combine and coat everything.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!

One comment

  1. Lookin’ good! As a matter of interest, because you mentioned Kirschwasser and its replacement cherry brandy: I am not familiar with the proliferation of european specialty alcohols in the US – even though I’m certain you can find anything if you look in the right places. But, when thinking of Schnapps (US spelling! European is with one P), all I can come up with is Peppermint Schnapps (which I’ve never seen over here). So the question is where to go when looking for specialty alcoholic beverages that might be not yet well known like Jägermeister, but unknown like Blutwurz?
    Klugscheisserwissen (Know-it-all morsels): Steely Dan sang the line ‘drink Kirschwasser from a shell’ in their song ‘Babylon Sisters’ from the album Gaucho in 1980.
    I’m thinking other references to German language alcoholica might be referenced in the Katzenjammer Kids, a now defunct Comic Strip loosely based on the German Max and Moritz, two bad kids who play pranks on people in their village and find their just end there. Its quite famous in Germany and was written and illustrated by Wilhelm Busch, an illustrator and painter of the 19. century. His illustrations were drastic, which is a trait the american Katzenjammer Kids were probably picked up from his work.

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