How can you top an appetizer where you get to dip things into melted Cheddar cheese? This aged cheddar fondue beer cheese dip is seasoned with a combination of pilsner beer and Worcestershire is served with an assortment of roasted vegetables and is the perfect appetizer for a chilly fall day.
I am not sure why I have never thought to serve roast vegetables with fondue rather than cut, raw vegetables (like a crudité). Roasting the vegetables brings out much more flavor and perfectly accompanies the cheese. I make this recipe on the stove and serve it hot immediately, it can also be made in a fondue pot with fondue forks or skewers.
While I typically cook with sharp Cheddar cheese – in this case I used a medium Cheddar. You still get a lot of the Cheddar flavor but sharp Cheddar won’t melt as well and incorporate into the beer mixture. Mild Cheddar loses a lot of the flavor as the cheese cooks. I like the color the yellow Cheddar adds (it gets its color from anatto) though white cheddar will work just as well.
I recommend using a lighter beer in this recipe. I choose to use a Pilsner which is a refreshing and crisp beer though a lager beer can also be used in this recipe. You don’t want anything with too many overpowering flavors since the alcohol burns off and the remaining flavor seasons the beer.
This fermented sauce adds a lot of concentrated flavor – a little goes a long way. The flavor of Worcestershire comes from a mix of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract and chili pepper.
The cheese is tossed in a bit of cornstarch to thicken the cheese mixture and help keep it emulsified. I like cornstarch because it is gluten-free and a great thickening agent. Flour can also be used as well though it has a stronger flavor since it is not cooked off first.
Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Toss the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in the olive oil and arrange in a single layer on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet.
Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the beer and Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch, chili powder, paprika and cayenne.
Add the cheese mixture slowly, stirring constantly until all the cheese has melted.
Garnish with chives and serve hot with the roasted vegetables and soft pretzels on the side.
While this recipe is made with Cheddar it can also be made with other shredded cheeses that melt well like classic Gruyere or Swiss cheese, fontina or Gouda.
If the cheese splits and looks greasy then adding an additional teaspoon or two of cornstarch and whisking to combine should help to re-emulsify the mixture.
While the instructions are for a regular pot made on a stove, this can easily be made in a fondue pot. The upside to using a fondue pot is it keeps the cheese warm over a consistent low heat. This way it doesn’t harden and stays gooey for optimal dipping. I recommend this electric one here or this candle-driven option.
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