Cheesy winter feast

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Apparently the tartiflette is the most in demand recipe in France, or at least the most Googled recipe in France this year.

If you haven’t tried tartiflette yet, winter is definitely the season to eat it. It’s not for nothing that it was invented in the Alps – to keep you warm and full during the harsh winter months. Think about how you feel after eating a hearty Cassoulet, and then double that feeling.

The original recipe was a gratin of potato, onions and cheese, but last century the producers of Reblochon cheese promoted tartiflette with their cheese. It took off, and now it’s a staple item on any Alpine restaurant menu, along with fondue and raclette.

Each region makes its tartiflette slightly differently. Do you scrape the skin off the Reblochon, do you peel the potatoes, how big should your slices of potato be, do you add white wine or not, do you add creme fraiche or not…? Frankly any which way works if you want a cheesy, gooey filling winter meal. What’s not to like about that ?

Ingredients

1.3kg waxy potatoes, skin left on
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
200g smoked bacon lardons
150ml dry white wine
200ml creme fraiche (not mandatory)
1 reblochon
1 clove of garlic

Method

Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until just tender to a fork, but not cooked right through. Drain well and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a frying pan and saute the onions and bacon until the onions are soft and both are beginning to brown. Tip in the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce to nearly nothing. Stir in the cream off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark six. Skin the potatoes (or not if you like an earthy flavour), and cut the potatoes into smallish cubes (roughly 1cm). Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and saute them until golden. Cut the cheese in half horizontally.

Rub an ovenproof dish with the cut clove of garlic, then cover the base with half the potatoes. Spoon over half the onion and bacon mixture and season well. Top with half the reblochon then repeat the layers, with the remaining reblochon half, rind uppermost, on top.

Bake for 15 minutes until browned and bubbling (stick it under the grill for five more minutes if you want it really crisp), then serve with a green salad and a glass of dry white wine.