I’d eaten Tartiflette (potatoes and cheese, baked– it sounds simple but it’s so much more) twice– many years ago in Southeastern France, and a year ago in Tavern de la Fermette in Southern Belgium (photo above). Both times it was a tastebud shock-and-awe (in a rich “I’m taking a month off my life” way).
Today I was having a few friends over to taste some Belgian beers, and was inspired to try to make it. I think it turned out really well.
A few quick-and-blurry photos:
And the process, based on a mix of online recipes and memory:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Boil 2 lbs of medium yukon gold potatoes for about 25 minutes, until just starting to get soft (but not fully cooked). Remove and rinse under cold water, then cut into 1/2″ cubes.
- In parallel: melt 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Cut three slices of extra-thick bacon into 1/4″ squares (lardons, sort of), and fry in the butter until golden and slightly crispy (about 10 minutes). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and leave the fat in the pan.
- Chop a large white onion finely, then saute patiently over medium heat in the bacon fat / butter until slightly golden and caramelized (maybe 20 minutes). Remove and drain, discarding excess fat.
- Return the onions, the bacon, and a cup of white wine to the pan (in the restaurant in France they said they used Champagne, but I didn’t have any) and cook on high heat, stirring rapidly, until the wine evaporates– maybe 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low. Add the cubed partially-cooked potatoes, stir for a minute, then add half a cup of heavy cream, some black pepper, and salt. Stir together for a minute or two.
- Pour everything into a lightly buttered 10″ pie plate or other baking dish, then top with half a pound of a creamy, aged, slightly funky French cows-milk cheese (traditionally you’d use Reblochon, but I couldn’t find it– instead I used the slightly firmer Raclette).
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes (I’d read you should then remove the foil and put it under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the cheese, but I got impatient).
The sweetness from the onions and wine is key. We devoured it.
It was especially great alternating with sips of a Rochefort 10 trappist ale (Quadrupel), followed by a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2007, which I’d been hanging on to for many years).
We also had Brussels sprouts (cut in half, mixed with bits of fried bacon, olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes at 350F, and impulsively drizzled with Satsuma juice before serving), some hearty seeded bread and funky blue cheese paired with a Supplication sour beer, briny lye-soaked Castelvetrano olives with a Doggie Claws barleywine, and some other beer and cheese.