Want to make this holiday season your cheesiest yet? In this multi-part series, chef Erin Harris (a.k.a. The Cheese Poet) shares creative and impressive cheese pairings—and the recipes you’ll need to make them. Come back every other Wednesday throughout the holidays to cook with The Cheese Poet.
Roasted Mini Squash Fondue Pots
- For the squash:
- 4 small sized round squash Acorn, Kabocha, Pumpkin, or Buttercup
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- For the fondue:
- ½ lb Emmental grated
- ½ lb Gruyere grated
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Kirsch or other fruit Brandy
- Optional:½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg or 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme to give your fondue a flavor twist
- For the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry the squash. Cut the top 1- inch of the squash off, removing the top and handle that will act as a lid for the fondue. Scoop out and dispose of the inside seeds and loose flesh, leaving the nice firm part of the flesh intact. Drizzle ½ tbsp. of olive oil inside each squash and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for approximately 25 minutes, then rotate each squash so that the cut side is up, and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Use a fork to prick the flesh to determine if the squash is fully cooked. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes if needed. The squash is done when the flesh is soft all the way through, and the cut edge is nicely caramelized.
- For the Fondue: During the last 20 minutes while the squash is roasting, prepare the fondue. Cut the garlic clove in half, and rub the cut faces of garlic around the inside of a fondue pot, double boiler, or a stainless steel mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water (do not allow the bowl to come into direct contact with the simmering water). Add the wine and heat until it is steaming but not a simmer.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together both cheeses with the cornstarch until evenly coated. Working over low heat, add the cheese in small handfuls, stirring until mostly melted before adding the next handful. Continue until all of the cheese is melted into the wine, forming a smooth, glossy melted cheese sauce, about 10 minutes; it is very important that the fondue stay below a simmer once you start adding the cheese, or there is a risk it could break. Stir in the lemon juice and kirsch, if using, until fully incorporated. Season the fondue with nutmeg, pepper, or finely chopped herbs if desired.
- Once the fondue is ready, keep it warm over very low heat until you are ready to fill the roasted squash. If the fondue begins to thicken too much, add a small splash of wine to loosen it.
- To Assemble: Once the squash and fondue are ready, you can assemble the pots. You want the squash to be warm from the oven in order to keep the fondue warm as it is served. Divide the fondue evenly into the 4 squash, and serve with cubes of crusty bread, whole grain mustard, cornichons, pickled and fresh vegetables, and slices of cured dry salami, or any combination that works for you!