In honor of the fondue pot's apparent comeback (take a glance at just about any holiday catalog or sales flier, and you're bound to see one), give that little-used kitchen gadget another go.
Eaten plain, Gruyere isn't the most flavorful option. But it melts wonderfully and, when mixed with a bit of white wine, a dash of smoked paprika and some diced hot peppers, makes a wonderful dipping sauce.
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound Gruyere cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons diced hot red or green peppers (such as pickled jalapeÃ±os or Peppadews)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 loaf rustic bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound ham steak, cooked according to package directions and cut into 1-inch cubes
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the wine to a simmer. Add the cheese and cook, stirring often, until melted.
Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and milk in a small glass and mix well. When the cheese has melted and is smooth, stir in the cornstarch and milk. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in the diced hot peppers and paprika. Transfer the cheese sauce to a heated fondue pot. Arrange the bread and ham on plates or a platter and serve immediately. Start to finish: 25 minutes.