Tartiflette – a hearty dish from the Savoie in France

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At least here where I live, the winter has been long and cold. So now when easter is soon coming up and winter finally giving in for spring a comfy dish like tartiflette would be very suitable. Fairly easy to make, flavourful and hearty.

Tartiflette is a dish from the Savoie, eastern France that is. You may think yhink this dish has long tradistions, but alas the answer is no. “Invented” some time during the 1980s Rumour has it the manufacturers of Reblochon had to do someting to increase sales of their cheese. Heard it before? Probably. Just like fondue in Swtizerland. Nothimng wrong with that. As soon as a dish is established we tend to put in more tradition than it deserves! Like Tartiflette that is a fairly new thing. Does not really matter as long as it tastes good, and naturally, Reblochon is a key ingredient. But is does not have to, you can use a local cheese of the same kind if you so wish. A mild washed rind cheese that is.

This is what you need..

750 g potatoes
200 g bacon – sliced and cut in cubes
25 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 dl dry white wine or vermuth
1 dl whipping cream
Some salt and pepper according to your likes (remember there is salt in the cheese as well)
250 g Reblochon (at least half a cheese)

..and this is how you do it

Heat your oven to 175 degrees C
Use large potaoes, boil them for 20 minutes. Unpeeled. Drain the water and let them cool in cold water.
Peel the potatoes, and slice them about 1 cm thick. Then dice the slices.

Cut the bacon in 1/2 cm thick slices and then cut into dice.
Warm the butter in the frying pan and fry the bacon until golden brown. Mind the heat – not too hot. Use a skimmer when removing the bacon from the frying pan so you drain most of the fat. Brown the onion in the bacon fat until shiny and golden brown. Put the onion on some kitchen paper to dry of the fat. Use some kitchen paper to dry off the frying pan. Bacon and onion back into the frying pan together with the white wine. Boil with high temperature until most of wine is vaporated. Add the diced potatoes. Blend well and stir frequently so it does not burn. Add the cream and salt and pepper according to your likes. Blend and let cook for a minute.

Grease the inside of an ovenproof dish. Pour it all over into the dish and smooth the top with the back of a spoon so it becomes even.

If you have a whole Reblochon wheel cut it in two and save one half for later. You only need one half (a half moon so to speak). Buy half a cheese if you have no other use for the rest. Make slits in the rind with a sharp knife, both sides and the side. Then cut the cheese in two so you have two half moons. (Like you do when making a cream cake). The two pieces should now have half the thickness of a normal Reblochon. You have two half moons. Put these on top of the dish with paste down and rind up. From above it now looks like a wheel. Cover the ovenproof dish with aluminum foil. Put in the middle of the oven and leave for one hour. Remove the foil after an hour and stir so the cheese blends well with the rest of the ingredients. Turn on the grill element of the oven and roast til the top becomes golden brown. Watch the process so the top does not get burned.

if you want to use a local cheese that’s fine. Preferably a Reblochon style cheese.

To drink

What about a white from the same area, Savoie? Perhaps not the most widely spread of wines, but they are available. Never wrong to dink local wines. Even though I personally will favour some white, this is a dish that goes well with both white and red wines. The cheese is the main ingredient with a fair dash of bacon responsible for the main flavours. The main white grape of Savoie is probably Jacquére while Mondeuse is the main red variety. Not very well known any of them perhaps. All the more important to try them out. If you find wines from the Savoie too scary, try the nabouring area, Jura. Bon appétit.

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