Happy New Year! I love New Year's Day; a time to clear your debts, make impossible resolutions, and generally take stock; and it's especially reassuring if you've got the strains of the Vienna New Year's Day concert on in the background.
For New Year's Day you want something hearty, and full of carbohydrates- particularly after all that partying and excess the night before. I read somewhere that Kate Spade, the New York based fashion designer, always has a bowl of chili on New Year's Day, and I'm with her on that one. But for this afternoon's post, I'm going to take a look at a classic chalet dish, The Tartiflette.
If you've ever been lucky enough to have gone ski-ing, you may already know it. Tartiflette's a French dish from the Savoie region, which originated in the valley of Aravis, home of Reblochon cheese. Curiously, it was invented as late as the 1980's in an attempt to push the sales of the local Reblochon cheese- and then heavily promoted by the relevant trade unions to boost employment in the area.
And how to make it? Fry some chopped smoked bacon, and sliced onions for about five minutes in your favourite pan. If you've got some goose fat, use that.
Next, slice up some waxy potatoes, and arrange them in a bottom of a dish, which you've previously greased with the goose fat. It might also be a good plan to rub half a garlic clove over the dish as well- this will give the Tartiflette a subtle garlicky flavour, without killing off all the other flavours in the dish.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, and then cover them with the cooked bacon and onions. Next, add a layer of Reblochon cheese which you have cut into small cubes. It would be worth you while to track down some authentic Reblochon- as this gives the dish its authentic edge. Try you local deli, and see if they stock it. If they don't it's always worth making a fuss- in the nicest possible way of course, and they may be able to get some in for you.
Finally, it's a simple matter of adding another layer of sliced potatoes, some more cheese, and finishing off the thing with a carton of double cream, unsalted butter and more salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for over an hour, until the cheesy cream topping goes brown and crusty.