Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tartiflette – French Potato, Bacon, and Illegal Cheese Casserole

There’s nothing I like more than getting a food wish for something I didn’t know existed, and thanks to a Mr. Patrick Ryan, I now know that tartiflette exists. This striking looking dish is basically a potato, onion, and bacon casserole, topped with Reblochon cheese.

If you haven’t heard of Reblochon, don’t feel bad. It’s illegal here. Since it’s made with raw milk, which apparently is dangerous, even though people have been eating it for centuries, it’s not allowed to be imported into the country. However, while you can’t get the real stuff, without smuggling at least, you can get a wonderful substitute, called “Dancing Fern,” from Sequatchie Cove Creamery.

If you’re wondering what it’s like, this is their description: “…soft and supple texture and barnyardy aroma, along with notes of cultured butter, shiitake mushroom, and walnuts.” You can find it at your finer cheese shops, or from several online sources, and while very expensive, it really was a magnificent cheese.

If you can’t swing faux-reblochon, I’ve read about some people using half gruyere and half brie. After tasting the finished product, I can see how that combo could create a somewhat similar flavor profile. Of course, since we’re talking about potatoes and bacon, just about any melting cheese should work beautifully. I really hope you give this amazing casserole a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 8 portions:
butter for greasing casserole dish
3 pounds russet potatoes, cooked with skins on, in salted water
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large onions, sliced thin
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste
1⁄2 cup drinkable white wine
3/4 cup crème fraiche
1 pound Reblochon cheese, or something similar like Dancing Fern

- 375F. for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender

43 comments:

Joe Eoj said...

Wouldn't raw cheese be worse for you if you had to hoop it up your ass and smuggle it across the border first.

We got the same BS 'big dairy' contrived laws here in Canada when it comes to raw milk products. Believe me Hoopin' ain't easy.

Juan Ruiz said...

Any recommendations on the white wine?

Vladimir Nachbaur said...

How dare you reveal one of our best kept French secret recipe?
Of course you'll never figure out what is to me the best secret of this recipe: scrubbing the dish with garlic before laying the potatoes in it. In fact I believe garlic is usually a big part of this dish and I usually add finely diced garlic to the onions, but maybe that's just my take on it!

Anyway I hope you guys are able to find something that taste about the same as Reblochon because it gives the dish this unique signature :)
I have to disagree on you saying this cheese is one of the stinky cheeses, good Reblochon are usually very mild very creamy and only have a subtle smell. But that could be my French nose talking here ;)

I never tried it with sliced onions, you gave me a new excuse to cook a Tartiflette soon.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Another reason to dig on reblochon cheese is that its invention is a result of oppressed 14th century tenant dairy farmers' ingenious method of sticking it to the man (at least according to Wikipedia):

Reblochon derives from the word 'reblocher' which when literally translated means 'to pinch a cow's udder again'. This refers to the practice of holding back some of the milk from the first milking. During the 14th century, the landowners would tax the mountain farmers according to the amount of milk their herds produced. The farmers would therefore not fully milk the cows until after the landowner had measured the yield. The milk that remains is much richer, and was traditionally used by the dairymaids to make their own cheese.

Only the French would perceive the need for a single, separate word for pinching the cow's udder again, but hey--if the idea is to thwart the greed of acquisitive landlords, and results in cheese of decadent richness, who am I to argue??

Josip Kucinic said...

Hi there chef John,
What about Camembert cheese instead? I bealive it would be perfect also in this dish.

Tessa Zijlstra said...

This is also by far one of my favorite cheese dishes. Thankfully here in The Netherlands we can get Reblochon. I also add some garlic just as the French guy before me.

A crispy green salad with a slightly tangy dressing is all you need to eat with the dish.
You can wake me up for this great meal.

Tessa Zijlstra said...

Oh and to answer Juan's question about the wine, if you don't mind me answering. I would recommend a dry white wine such as a Chardonnay. But that's my preference. 😉

Robin Betts said...

Is it true this recipe was created in the 1980's by those clever producers of Reblochon, to shift more of their cheese? None the worse for that... To go with it? A strong, crisp, dry white wine. And a log fire. And plenty of snow. And a week or two of vigorous exercise.

Olgalii. said...

Ohh Chef John, what do you do to me...

I thought I had the perfect recipe for Tartiflette... now i need to cook it again next week. Luckily, my local cheese dealer always has some Reblochon for me. Should cook it as long as it stays nice and cold here... Someday next week I guess. Can't wait to see your spin on it, since I'm at work now with no sound.

Daniel Bottoms said...

Easily one of the most epic recipes youve done ... we bake a rind-cheese about 2x a month.... its wonderful. Cant wait to try this one.... and thankfully in Austria we can get crazy raw-milk cheeses. I bet some red-culture rinde cheeses would also be spectacular here. Sorry for no apostraphies ... the key is broken on my wifes laptop!

laurence Haddad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurence Haddad said...

Hi John,
I order my reblochon from my french friend who has a store by my house in San Diego. He has amazing products and also has an online store!!
https://www.eurofooddepot.com/cheese-dairy/fromage/tartiflette-cheese-reblechon-1-1lb-500gr-french-grocery-french-food-san-diego-france-eurofood-depot.html
Enjoy
Thanks for the amazing recipe
A fellow french girl;-)

Jessica Barcomb said...

Any other suggestions for cheese substitutions? igourmet.com seems to be out of stock of the Dancing Fern.
Thanks!
Jessi

Chef John said...

Besides the one I gave in the last paragraph, I really don't. Someone just posted another source however. Good luck!

Megan Vannelli said...

Well, I will let you all know how it turns out with just plain, cheap, American supermarket Brie. Had I read the blog before I went shopping I would have picked up some Gruyere, too, but the video was so enticing I just ran like the wind straight to the grocery!

savvysage said...

A suggestion for a white wine: There's a white wine that's dry like chardonnay without the oak-flavors. It's called Chenin Blanc, it goes wonderful with onions and cheese I've used this wine with Chef John's Garlic Soup and Chef John's Onion Soup, and the results were a very tasty soup.

Gene Hoyas said...

Hey chef...what about Camembert? Yea or Nay?

AlexG said...

Lol... There's some sort of French/Swiss/European tart that has much the same ingredients. Instead of potatoes, they use something like a pizza crust. It has small cut up bacon pieces and onion arranged like pizza toppings with cream fresh as the sauce... It was also very good.

Franken Stein said...

I've watched every video that you've made for years and I must say this is probably the most amazing and stunning looking dish that I've seen so far. I would have never in a million years considered using THAT MUCH cheese in one recipe, but it makes sense.

The hardest part for me is that I live an ultra-low-carb life but I'll be totally breaking the rules when I make this tomorrow!!

Géraud Obert said...

OMG I'm the one who asked you to do this recipe, and I can't believe you did it! And that you liked it so much! I can now proudly say "I taught Chef John something".

To answer some of the comments, I didn't know about the garlic and I'm definitely gonna try this soon, great idea.
And yes, this isn't one of the traditionnal dish that's been made forever but indeed was invented in the 80's to promote Reblochon. But let's be honest, one of the best idea ever!

And just so you can make another video like this, there's a similar dish called "Croziflette" that's kind of the same but instead of potatoes there are "crozets" which are pasta made with buckwheat. I personnaly never tried it, but I guess it's as awesome as Tartiflette.

A couple of advices that you said in the video but are really critical to me :
- Don't cook the potatoes too long, unless you want mashed potatoes (which you don't)
- Let this dish rest, cause when it's in your plate you absolutely can't wait, and it allows the dish to a better texture.

Again thank you Chef John for making this video!

Tessa Zijlstra said...

Hi AlexG, that's a Flammkuchen. Also really good. You would love that too Chef John. Be sure to roll out the dough as thin as possible.

Janni said...

Oh man, I remember seeing (and smelling!) Reblochon cheese years ago when my mom, sister and I visited my dad at the restaurant kitchen (I'm 98% sure that was it). As always we were encouraged to taste, but back then I loathed any kind of cheese. I'm pretty sure I can get it from the Fromagerie in the city. Would be pretty cool to put this dish on the Easter table!

My Food Wish: I would LOVE to see your take on Fish & Chips!

I know you made a batter post years ago (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Not-So-Secret Beer Batter Recipe) but it would be cool to see 2016 chef John make Fish & Chips.

Megan Vannelli said...

I made the super budget version of this last night. Substituted American supermarket Brie and replaced the wine with chicken stock and white wine vinegar. Was quite good! I bet the real version is amazing.

Chef John said...

To the folks asking about Brie and Camembert, the flavor is not the same, and IMO way to mild. I think you need some amount of slightly funky sharpness to make the dish work. If using those cheeses, I'd add a big handful of gruyere or even cheddar.

Thomas Göbel said...

Great dish! Easy recipe and we enjoyed it very much, thank you chef john!

Jason Smith said...

Haaa! Great job, CJ! You put Dancing Fern on the map!
The Arnolds are going to LOVE you!

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

This looks very interesting What's the difference between placing the cheese 'rind up' versus 'rind down'? Thanks.

JulieBoolie said...

Help! The subscription/following links to enable me to receive notifications about new posts and comments are not working for me. Not sure why I am being picked on as I promote Food Wishes to EVERYone! Suggestions, anyone? ....and Thanks for any and all assistance.

Terry Pogue said...

MurraysCheese.com has a good replacement. Very similar but pasteurized. Just search on Reblochon.
My wine of choice is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp dry with some citrus notes. No oak.
Terry

Civil Librarian said...

Whole Foods (at least here in Maryland) sells a French-made Reblochon called Prefere de Fromi. I believe the only difference is that it's aged longer than the traditional Reblochon. If you google the name of the cheese you'll find several sites that review it favorably. I've got a wheel of it in the fridge right now that I'll be using later today to make this recipe.

Chef Marinka said...

Any other suggestions for cheese substitutions? igourmet.com seems to be out of stock of the Dancing Fern.
Thanks! Marinka

Chef John said...

Did you read the post? I gave a substitute there.

Derek Scuteri said...

Alpine food at its best!

Chef John said...

Rind up just looks way, way cooler, but also lets the cheese melt downward easier.

Dre said...

Beautiful recipe!! We have lots of raw milk cheeses in America (Dancing Fern is raw), they just have to be aged for 60 days or more. Can't wait to try this!

Robin said...

I did some Googling and found this cheese, Le Delice du Jura - Reblochon-style Tomme.
I have not tested it but it migbht not be too awful.

MissRedCooks said...

Nice idea! I hope you really enjoyed this recipe!
In fact, here in Europe (France + Belgium) many of us just cut slices of Reblochon and make a gratin with layers of potatoes, onions, bacon, slices of cheese, ... so it melts everywhere in the casserole, with a lot of grated cheese on top!

Tim K. said...

One of my favorite videos and recipes as of late. I've never heard of reblochon cheese before, but it looks to become a family favorite.
I hope for your continued success for many years to come, Chef John.

Robin said...

Chef John! Thank you! Tartiflette is most amazing! And please allow me to recommend yet another cheese. St. Nectaire was recommended by the fromagier (is that a word?) at Central Market. The taste was such that I almost ate it before cooking the tartiflette.

Laurie Cammarata said...

Cant wait to try this! Lots of raw milk cheeses here in Asheville. If I can't find one similar, I'll go to Whole Foods, as suggested above. You should come here sometime! Quite a good repertoire of local food and restaurants!

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Chef John,
This could be my next, new favorite dish. Thanks. Were you under duress when you did the narrative? Your voice didn't have your usual calm, flowing, and friendly quality.

simon hoare said...

Making this dish at the weekend. Thankfully over here in the UK we CAN get ' illegal cheese'. All very much looking forward to it.
Thanks.
Simon. ( Isle Of Wight )

Peanut said...

Dear Chef john,

I really love all of you recipes but I have a question for you. Can you tell me some uses for truffle dust. I been curious about truffles and I'd like to try something new any ideas. saw this in the store and jumped on it now I have know idea what do with it.