Tartiflette (From Ripailles, Reynaud 2008 and the not French at all Hairy Bikers on the BBC)
Comfort food. Food that warms the cockles, the heart and parts other dishes can’t. On a day when the temperature barely coughs and wheezes its way passed minus ouch, this is what you need.
I confess, I have never eaten tartiflette in France. In fact, I have only eaten it once in total, in a pub in Hackney. You couldn’t get much further from a chic French brasserie. But from that one experience, I know that this is comfort food at its best. Bacon. Oof! Potato. Whumpf! Cream. Blam! Melting cheese. KAPOW! Knockout.
But if you would excuse my Marvel comic punching analogies (please, I know they were awful), tartiflette is much more of a warm bear hug. It’s the savoury equivalent of a blackcurrant and apple crumble with vanilla custard, or like finding an open fire in a stumbled-upon country pub after a bracing walk in the winter, or I suppose since the saying exists like a warm bear hugging you… or a bear hugging you warmly. Are there any experts on hugging bears that can clear this up for us?
And it’s so easy to knock up (yes, I’m back to talking about the tartiflette at last), that you can spend as much of your day under a duvet instead of over a hob as you could hope for.
It’s not a looker I grant you, but flavour-wise it’s heavenly.
And now for a new end section wherein I try to explain how to recreate the thing I made, should your heart/stomach so desire, with as little fuss as possible.
1kg potatoes / 2 onions / 2 cloves garlic / 5 unsmoked back rashers of bacon / 100ml white wine / 300ml pouring cream / 1 Reblochon cheese / olive oil / salt & pepper
Peel and boil potatoes until tender / Brown sliced onions, chopped garlic and chopped bacon in olive oil until golden / Add white wine and reduce most of it away / Slice potatoes and layer in gratin dish with onion mix / Pour cream over / Slice and place cheese on top and season / Cook for 10-15 mins at 200 celsius