What would be your all time favourite Rustic French Dish? A warming Cassoulet? A rich Boeuf Bourgignon? There are so many delicious ones to choose from! I asked Claire Jones of Jox Food Blog what hers would be and it turns out that top of her list is a creamy French Tartiflette.
If you’ve never tried this delicious dish before, Claire shares her passion and recipe for all things Tartiflette here.
One of the reasons that Charlotte Cox and I started our food blog Jox Food was to share recipes like this with our followers. As working mothers, we wanted to provide wholesome, inexpensive meal ideas that are easily accessible with simple ingredients. The difference is, we also provide some background and a tale to go with each of our recipes. In the same way that music evokes memories, so does food and we want to convey that in what we do. My memories of this particular dish, Tartiflette go way back, so it’s a joy to be able to share that memory and my recipe with you.
We used to come to France as a family, many times a year, for several years from being very little. When I was a teenager, I used to spend all my summers up in Paris with friends of my parents, Nicole and Maurice and I can remember Tartiflette being on the table one evening and absolutely loving it. This was one of those occasions that remained a food memory for me for a very long time, right up until I moved back to France in 2006 – and that was it, I was in full Tartiflette mode once again!
A classic Tartiflette is absolutely the best winter warmer right through from Autumn to early Spring and is one of those really versatile dishes, you can even serve in Summer. Whatever time of year you savour this rich dish, it always delivers on the flavour and is so delicious with just a few basic ingredients; potatoes, smoked bacon lardons, onions and a little bit of garlic, it’s just heaven. I have to say when I mention to the children that I will be making Tartiflette for supper, they are all salivating in anticipation! It’s one of those suppers that while I’m making it, they keep popping down to the kitchen to see what’s going on. They say the cooking smells are amazing. It’s a really great family dish, even for picky eaters, there’s nothing not to like about it.
Simple but Stylish Suppers
For me, even though Tartiflette is a very rustic and traditional French dish, made from cheap ingredients like potatoes and pork, it can totally be switched up to make something really quite amazing as a dish for when entertaining friends. If I was making Tartiflette for a supper with friends, I would perhaps serve it in individual dishes to make it a real showstopper with a lovely salad or some crisp green beans on the side. I honestly think that Tartiflette is one of the best recipes I’vestumbled across in France because of it’s versatility. You could even switch out the lardons for a vegetarian option with some delicious wild mushrooms fried off first in butter and olive oil until they’re nice and crispy.
Rustic French Tartiflette Recipe by Jox Food Blog
So, here is my version of the classic Tartiflette, you’ll see that I add cream which isn’t the traditional way but I feel it adds a touch of glamour to this peasant dish and we all need a bit of that here in the French countryside don’t we?
This recipe costs 9e20 to feed a very hungry family of 5, so I’d say around 5e for a family of 4 and there’s always plenty left over for lunch the next day.
200g Smoked Lardons
500g Reblochon Cheese
2 Good Sized Onions
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp dried Thyme
Butter to Grease
Coeur de Laitue salade to serve.
1.Pre-heat the oven to 180c or 175 for fan assisted oven
2.Slice the potatoes – about 2-3mm thick and put to one side.
3.Slice the onions and crush or grate the garlic cloves
4.Mix the thyme with the raw lardons in a dish
5.Scrape the off waxy outer layer the rind of your cheese and then slice. I find that it is far easier to slice it into long finger shapes than attempt to halve it through its middle.
6.Fill a large pan with salted water and once at a rolling boil drop in the separated potato slices to par cook – around 5-8 minutes, depending on how floury the potatoes are. If in doubt prod with the end of a sharp knife and if the flesh yields a little you’re there. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
7.Whilst your potatoes are bubbling in hot water heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and gently cook the lardons until just done, it honestly doesn’t take long at all. Once cooked remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon juices where they are.
8.Now add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan and gently sauté in the bacony goodness being sure to cook them slowly, so as not to burn them. They should be soft and translucent.
9.Grab a baking dish and butter the inside well, this will stop the potatoes from gluing themselves too tightly to the bottom and sides during cooking.
10.Once your potatoes are cooled and easier to handle layer half into the bottom of the buttered dish.
11.Sprinkle the lardons and cooked onion and garlic mix over the potato layer.
12.Add a drizzle of cream nonchalantly across the top. There is absolutely no need to be overly perfectionist about this – reserving the other half for later.
13.Season with salt and pepper
14.Next, layer the remaining potatoes on top and drizzle over the last of the cream. Season again – remember though that Reblochon adds a certain saltiness to the dish so don’t go wild.
15. Finally, cover the entire dish with the cheese slices. Don’t hold back from using the entire roule of gooey cheese. More is most definitely better. Accept and embrace that we are now heading into the slow calorific slide towards Christmas so we might as well start the season off in style
16.A quick twist of freshly ground pepper is the very last step before sliding it into the oven for 40-45 minutes uncovered.
Your finished tartiflette should be gently browned with the odd bubble of cream exploding across the top. I highly advise letting this sit for 5 minutes before diving in as this little bit of cooling time will help when it comes to serving
Serve with crisp salad or green beans. Bon appétit
Follow Claire Jones and Charlotte Cox on their fabulous food adventures at www.instagram.com/joxfood