Before we had kids my girlfriend and I ate fondue all of the time. These days we eat it once a year if we’re lucky. Imagine my surprise and consternation when I phone the lady on the afternoon of Valentine’s Day to see what she would like me to cook for her(It’s a tradition we have where she just bosses me around whenever she wants and I pretend like I am ok with it) and she tells me that she is going to make her patented, kick ass, 5 star supreme Chinese style fondue. YES!
This is an incredibly tough meal to enjoy with the kids around cause it can take hours to eat and kids get bored pretty fast these days. But we figured hey they are 7 and 4 now so a meal with an open flame, boiling liquid and long, sharp metal sticks should go flawlessly. Besides, they are more likely to fight with other than with me so the odds of me getting stabbed by one of them must be pretty low. I hope. Still a bit nervous about the little one getting stabby.
Now, this ain’t no boxed bouillon and jarred sauce fondue neither. When the lady says she’s making this she makes every single thing from scratch, starting with the wine and onion based bouillon to a wide variety of homemade dipping sauces. I tend to cook more often than she does, which I enjoy anyway, but once in a while it is nice to be pampered. I am assigned 3 simple tasks for this meal:
1) Pick the meat we’ll eat
2) Sit around on my phat ass and drink with the in-laws whilst the lady cooks
I am amazing at all 3 of those things. Alright, onto the meat shopping! Those of you who know me or are at least familiar with this site will know that I am like a raccoon. This meaning that if something had a pulse at some point I will pretty much eat the living crap out of it. Fondue is always a great chance to try some whacked out types of meat. Even at standard grocery stores you can find at least 7 or 8 different types of meat. My all time favorite meat, especially for this meal, is deer. I grab a pack of that right away and was all set to grab some elk, which is also high on my list, when I see a pack of camel meat. Say what? That can’t be right. So I look again. Yep. It’s camel alright. I do a quick brain scan….ostridge? Check. Kangaroo? Check. Wild boar? Check. Camel? Nope. Never tried it. Challenge accepted. I also pick up some beef and chicken and since we’re a smaller group this time I figure we should be all set.
As I drive back from the store I am smiling to myself at the thought of trying one of the few meats left that you can get in North America that I have yet to taste. And honestly, this camel meat is the perfect match for Valentine’s Day too. I mean who can’t do with a bit of hump on the sexiest day of the year? Oh, and don’t worry, I confirmed with the butcher and no part of the infamous camel toe was packaged. With step 1 taken care of I move onto the next and head down to the cellar to pick a wine for tonight. I am just about set on a nice French Cote du Rhone, which is a favorite of my father-in-law’s, when I stumble upon an Italian wine from 2004 that I was sure was gone years ago. Dang! If this is still good we are looking at two sexy surprises in one night! Things are looking good so far and we are on our way to having an epic night. Seeing as this bad boy is now 10 years old there is a good chance that it’s best days are behind it. I pop open the cork to let this sucker breathe for a bit and all signs point to it having aged extremely well. Now I just need to stop myself from drinking it before anybody shows up.
The lady friend busted out her 4 top sauces for the meat. The yellow one at the bottom is a curry and mayonnaise based sauce that goes especially great with chicken and the veggies we serve alongside the meat as well. Above that on the left is a black pepper and mayo based sauce that goes perfectly with beef. The red sauce is a chili, scallion and cognac based sauce that I totally love with the deer meat. Finally, that last one on the right is a cheese, garlic and mayo sauce that is quite possibly the greatest thing you will ever jam into your face. It goes with everything. When no one is looking I will eat a big forkful of nothing but that sauce.
The in-laws arrive and whilst the lady works her magic with the bouillon I happily crack open a few Boreale IPAs to get warmed up and build a nice beer base in my gut for the food and wine that is to come. Ok, everything is all set so it’s time to chow down. I skewer me a nice hunk of camel and dip it into the bouillon. I remove it pretty soon after so that I can taste it rare. No sauce on the first go since I want to see what this stuff is made of. It’s a bit tough but not overly so. It’s texture and taste remind me very much of bison. It’s good! I like it and I’d get it again for sure. The star of this show is still definitely the deer though. Such a dynamic, woodsy earthy taste to it that few other meats can claim to have. This sexy as hell wine works wonders with this meal too! It pairs perfectly with the rich sauces and zazzy meats.
We never really make plans for this day and just kind of cook a meal at home and relax. It was nice to have some family over and eat like kings. The best nights can be the ones with no expectations to them. If you all want the recipe for the bouillon and sauces just shoot me a note and I will check with the boss lady if she minds sharing these generations old recipes. In case you were wondering my kids were well behaved and actually loved the meal too, although they stuck with the beef and chicken. My oldest did try the deer but wasn’t a fan. You’ll be happy to know that none of us got stabbed or burned by the kids either! Looks like I owe my father-in-law 20$ on that one.
Categories: Phood Philosophies