Have you ever dined out and enjoyed a meal so much you wanted to recreate it at home? That’s what happened when I tell you the story of my poor man’s cheese fondue. I know the name sounds strange but the story is interesting.
Apparently my fondue recipe has gained a lot of interest over the years because this recipe has been widely searched and a lot of readers come to my blog just to find this information I’m sharing today.
Poor Man’s Cheese
About Copycat Recipes
This story and recipe originated back in 2011. At the time my husband and I were still recently married I didn’t have much cooking experience and was really just starting to learn how to cook on my own for the first time.
Back at the time I managed to do a little bit of cooking. Most of my cooking happened on the weekend then. I just couldn’t ever find enough time to devote to real cooking during the week with my busy work schedule. At this particular time we had dined out and really enjoyed part of our meal.
This led me to wanting to recreate that meal at home. These recipes today are frequently called copycat recipes. You will find them on recipe blogs and Pinterest and will try to emulate a popular dish or food from a restaurant or fast food chain.
Irish Kerrygold Cheddar Fondue
Sometimes the recreation is successful and could practically win in a taste test. Other times it might come out not as expected or just not taste exactly right. The original is still best. Eating out is fine but most people need to do this in moderation so cooking a copycat meal at home can be more affordable.
On this particular weekend I tried to recreate one of our favorite local appetizers, the Irish Kerrygold Cheddar Fondue. This dish was is served at JK O’Donnell’s Irish Pub in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana where we lived at the time.
Locals called the place JK’s (for short) is a great place to go when we need to “get out” but don’t want to blow our date night budget. The food and drinks were very affordable there. I’m not sure if this dish is still on the menu but at the time this was the description, see below, sounds amazing right?
Kerrygold is a popular type of butter. It’s known as a butter that’s great for eating as it is on breads and such because of the rich, robust flavor. It is a pure Irish Butter from grass-fed cows. Kerrygold also makes some pure Irish cheese including a cheddar. This cheddar is aged. This fondue was paired with crostini for dipping into the cheese fondue.
After raving twice over the fondue, I decided to try my own. This turned into a near epic failure. Although the photos may actually make this fondue look good. The key to the Irish Kerrygold Cheddar Fondue we would order at the Irish pub is that it’s very thin, like soup.
When I’ve made traditional fondues they are always much thicker, very rich and cheesy. I scoured the internet to find a recipe that would replicate this soupy texture, but maintain the sharp cheddar taste. Again I was working on trying to recreate this recipe with not a lot of information on the ingredients.
Poor Mans Cheese
Eventually came across a recipe that included using real sharp cheddar, beer, a can of cheddar soup and spices. It sounded pretty good and like it might emulate the dish from the eatery. Again, these are the ingredients:
- Real Sharp Cheddar
- Can of Cheddar Soup
Everything about the recipe was working. However, I think the epic fail came in with the cheddar soup. I wanted to purchase an all-natural cheddar soup, but our local grocery store did carry any. We ended up with Campbell’s Cheddar Soup which had some extra ingredients on the label.
I wasn’t sure how much this would taste like rich aged cheddar. Those 30 ingredients definitely left the fondue with an off flavor. But we did enjoy the beer taste and the spices. I made the soup in our fondue pot and we dipped whole grain baguette in the fondue.
My husband summarized this meal up quite nicely, calling this a “Poor Man’s Cheese Fondue.” That’s where the silly name for this post came from but apparently a lot of people are looking to cook an affordable fondue or for affordable cheese.
Shelf Stable Cheese Products
If you are looking to make a quick and easy fondue the canned cheddar soup is the way to go. If you are also looking for shelf-stable cheese the soup is an option to eat on it’s own or cooked into a recipe. Another popular shelf stable cheese product is Velveeta, which is frequently used to make macaroni and cheese or cheese dips such as queso dip.
Shelf stable cheese products do not require refrigeration. They also last for a much longer time you will find this by looking at the good by date on the product. They will last longer than regular cheese and dairy products. Here’s another cheese idea that comes in white or regular cheddar too.
Another cheese product I have found in recent years is cheese powder. This is like the powder you find in the sauce packets of packaged macaroni and cheese. Sometimes it’s also called dehydrated cheese powder. Next time maybe I could try this cheese fondue recipe after purchasing some.
Poor Man’s Cheese Fondue
It will be difficult to make this recipe perfectly without knowing the exact ingredients in the restaurant dish but it’s fun to experiment and try to recreate meals, especially if you enjoy cooking as a hobby. I actually learned a lot from this experiment because nowI know a lot more about shelf stable cheeses.
Which restaurant meal have you tried to recreate at home?
*This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.