Mushroom Brie Fondue

I think more people don't make fondue because they think it is complicated, it really isn't.  Fancy pots are really more for show than anything else - I certainly own my share, but a small crock-pot will work just fine.  It's the time of year when full flavors come into play so I wanted to bring mushrooms together with the delicate flavor of brie for this fondue.  I am serving this with rustic bread cubes, chicken breasts that have been cooked and cubed, blanched asparagus and steamed new potatoes - all at room temperature.  For the dried mushrooms, I used the 2 oz. jar available through Williams-Sonoma stores.  This recipe roughly makes a lot, so you can easily half it.

2 oz. dried mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
4 tbsp. butter
20-24 oz. fresh mushrooms of your choosing, small dice
1 medium onion, minced
1 bottle Savignon Blanc
3 tbsp. white Balsamic or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 lb. Bried, rind removed and chunked
salt and pepper to taste

Rehydrate dried mushrooms in 3 cups boiling water.  Cover and let sit for at least four hours.  Place rehydrated mushrooms and liquid into a blender and pulse until mushrooms are finely chopped.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat - add mushrooms and onion.  Cook for around ten minutes, or until mushrooms have released most of their juices.  Add rehyrated mushrooms and their juices and continue to cook until all of the liquid is gone, stirring every few minutes to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pan - this should roughly take 15 minutes.  Meanwhile combine the wine and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup.  When mushroom liquid has evaporated, add all but one cup of the wine/vinegar mixture to the pan.  Mix the cornstarch with the remaining wine/vinegar mixture and stir to combine, then add to the pan and cook using a whisk.  Once the mixture is heated, then begin to add brie chunks 4-5 at a time and whisk to combine/melt, adding more as it continues to melt until all of it has been added.  Once it has all melted, taste for seasoning and adjust with salt/pepper as desired.

Place into a fondue pot or appropriately-sized crock pot and keep warm.  You can make this in advance before your event and reheat in a double boiler gently to the desired temperature.  Enjoy!

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