Valentines Day is often considered a cheesy “Holiday” manufactured by the Hallmark company. A time when, although you like craft beer more, you settle for a cleverly named red wine at an expensive restaurant. And most likely, you probably forgot to make reservations to that restaurant. But worry not my fellow intrepid beer aficionado, for with the help of craft chef Krystal Angelo and the hand crafted beers of Odell Brewing Co, I am here to provide you with an even Cheesier way to spend Valentines day with your loved one and/or friends… Fondue!
For these recipes we used 5 different Odell Beers, and paired it with 7 different Odell Beers, making for a very enjoyable and adventurous night of gastro-revelry. We used Easy Street Wheat, Levity, IPA, Red Ale, and Cutthroat Porter to help create the desired flavors in the foods and in addition to those beers we enjoyed 5 Barrel Pale Ale and 90 Shilling with the meal throughout the evening. One of the great things about Fondue is that it places an importance on the event and the experience, rather then just simply “eating.” You have a natural opportunity to talk about the food you are eating, or beer you are drinking throughout the meal, which is the very essence of hosting a craft beer dinner at home. And throughout the evening you really get to learn more about the beer you are drinking as you talk about the flavors you experience.
We structured the meal with three courses: a cheese fondue appetizer, broth main course and chocolate fondue dessert. Although we were plenty full after the cheese course we journeyed on and as you should know by now you always have room for Cutthroat Porter Chocolate Fondue covered anything for dessert!
Before you begin your dinner, make sure that you have prepared all of the foods-cut and rinse all the vegetables, tear the bread, and cut and prepare the meats (marinate if necessary). Also make sure that you have prepared all of your dipping sauces (if using any) as they need at least 30 minutes to chill.
First Course: Red Cheese Fondue
6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese
1.5 Tablespoon flour
8 oz OBC Red ale, at room temperature
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Serve with: Bread chunks (French, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough or any other delicious variety), baby carrots, celery, Granny Smith and Pink Lady apple slices, canned new potatoes, pickles (dill and/or gherkin), and artichoke hearts.
Directions: In a bowl combine Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Cheddar and flour; mix well to coat cheese with flour. Set aside. In a large saucepan bring beer to a simmer over medium heat then add garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cheese-flour mixture by handfuls to saucepan, stirring constantly after each addition with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion until cheese is melted. Stir in dry mustard, mixing well. Transfer to fondue pot and serve immediately with crudites and bread.
Note: The cheese is shredded and tossed with flour to aid in thickening and to improve the viscosity of the fondue. The fondue should be the consistency of warm honey when completed.
The cheese fondue should be held at a temperature warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot as to allow any burning. If this temperature is held until the fondue is finished there will be a thin crust of toasted (not burnt) cheese at the bottom of the fondue pot. This is called la religieuse (French for the nun or the religious one). It has the texture of a thin cracker and is always lifted out and eaten; it is considered a delicacy.
Tasting Notes: If you like cheese that has a slight munich malt character and mild citrus from the Red Ale hops then you will love this! By far the best combination of the night was the Tart Green Apples dipped in the cheese and paired with a 5 Barrel Pale Ale, the flavor profile was simply brilliant.
Second Course: Levity Court Bullion Broth
2 Cups warm water
2 Cups vegetable broth
1 bottle OBC Levity amber ale
3 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon finely chopped celery
1 Tablespoon chopped carrot
2 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Cup ketchup
2 Tablespoon extra hot horseradish (or more for your liking)
Mix ingredients and chill for 30 minutes or longer.
Tarragon Dipping Sauce
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 sour cream
2 Tablespoons shallots
2 Tablespoons Tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash red pepper
Mix ingredients and chill for 30 minutes or longer.
Also, we used store bought Plum sauce for one of our dipping sauces, so do not think that you have to do it all yourself; save some time and money by taking advantage of your American right to buy anything you want, whenever you want it.
Serve with: Vegetables: broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini; fresh ravioli; NY Strip streak, cut against the grain into bite sized pieces; OBC IPA marinated bratwurst, sliced; OBC EZ Street Wheat marinated shrimp; and chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces.
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook vegetables in broth first by boiling for 5 minutes. Transfer broth and vegetables to a fondue pot on 370F to 400F. Let vegetables cook a few minutes more or until desired doneness, remove from broth.
Note: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, and/or shellfish may increase your risk for food borne illness. A few rules of thumb when fonduing… cook your poultry for approximately 2 minutes, cook your seafood for approximately 2-3 minutes, cook your fish for approximately 30-60 seconds, and for rare meat cook for approximately 15-20 seconds, for medium 25-30 seconds, and well done for 40-60 seconds.
Tasting Notes: We were very impressed by the fresh hop character that came through in the IPA marinated bratwurst. Hopheads will surely enjoy this, while those sometimes put off by the more bitter character of IPA be warned. I found the honey malt character of the levity to provide a beautiful malty sweetness in the broth that transfered subtly into most of the un-marinated offerings, especially the broccoli. The Levity broth worked well with the bright hoppy IPA and Red Ale as a pairing.
Third Course: Cutthroat Chocolate Fondue
3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
4 bittersweet chocolate bars (3.5 oz each), chopped
2 Tablespoons OBC Cutthroat Porter
Directions: In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of the whipping cream until simmering. Turn off heat and add chocolate, letting stand in cream for 3-5 minutes to soften. Then whisk the chocolate until smooth, and add the beer. Transfer to fondue pot and add 1 Tablespoon of cream at a time if chocolate becomes too thick.
Serve with: Strawberries, bananas, pound cake cut into bite sized chunks, marshmallows, graham crackers, Oreos, brownies, pretzels, cheesecake bites, cream cheese balls rolled in chopped walnuts, and anything else you would like to dip into warm, gooey, bittersweet Cutthroat Porter melted chocolate!
Tasting Notes: Your second stomach will love you for all the chocolate you just took in. Decadence is a wonderful thing! When you add a 5 Barrel, IPA or Red Ale as a pairing you will be even happier, as the rich chocolate plays in beautiful contrast to the bright and hoppy beers. The Cutthroat Porter in the chocolate lends a soft roastiness to the fondue, and is especially noticeable on the Pound Cake, Marshmellows or my favorite the cream cheese balls rolled in Walnuts.
We Fondid, and loved it! Now is that cheesy enough for you?