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Potato Cheese Casserole
French Tartiflette Recipe

Here's a truly delicious potato cheese casserole developed by the producers of Reblochon, a cheese made in the Savoy region of France.

Reblochon Cheese

he name for this creamy cheese comes from an interesting practice dating from centuries ago in France. In the Middle Ages, dairy farmers were required to pay taxes on the amount of milk they got from their cows. In order to avoid some of this usury, in the evening after he had given the milk to the landowner, the farmer would milk the cows a second time (re-blocher in Savoyard). This milk was for his family and although less abundant, it was said to be extra creamy and rich.

Reblochon cheese has had an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) since 1958. What this means for you is a certain guarantee of quality when you buy a cheese with this mark. Manufacturers are required to adhere to strict standards and the product must come from a designated area to be able to label itself AOC.

When you cut into your Reblocon, you may find either a green or red seal. A green seal indicates a Reblochon fermier, meaning that the cheese was made by the dairy farmer himself from milk that came only from his herd of cows. A red seal indicates a Reblochon laitier, meaning that the cheese was made in a cooperative with the milk of different herds.

  • Aspect: Creamy soft cheese with a washed yellow rind covered lightly in a white dust.
  • Presentation: Made, and usually sold, in rounds that weigh about a pound each.
  • Taste: There is a hint of hazelnut taste to this cheese that lingers in your mouth
  • Serving: Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before you are going to enjoy it. Ideal eating temperature is 16°C (about 60°F).
  • Storing: To avoid fermentation, never store your cheese in aluminum paper. Wrap it rather in plastic wrap.

Tartiflette

This recipe was developed and marketed by the Reblochon cheese guild in the 1980's. It is similar to traditional dishes from the Alps featuring potatoes and cheese, but here the clever cheese makers developed a potato cheese casserole that specifically calls for their cheese. The name is derived from the Savoyard word for potato, a tartiflâ , and it has duped more than one person into believing that the recipe is a classic Savoyard dish.

Oh well, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying this wonderful casserole. If you can't find a Reblochon you could substitute Brie cheese or Munster cheese and get good results. Enjoy this casserole with a dry white wine such as Apremont which hails from Savoy as well.

So it can go right from the oven to table, be sure to serve this recipe in an attractive au gratin dish.

Potato Cheese Casserole
Tartiflette

Makes 4 hearty servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 6 ounces bacon, cut in small strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 16 ounce Reblochon

Directions

  1. Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a skillet on medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Add the bacon and cook another five minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and remove from heat.
  2. In a buttered baking dish, place a layer of sliced potatoes using half of the potatoes. Layer with half of the bacon and onion mixture and then repeat the two layers. Pour the wine evenly over this.
  3. Cut the Reblochon into two discs, and place the slices rind side down on top of the potatoes and bacon.
  4. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes - the cheese should be barely golden when you take it out of the oven.
  5. Allow to cool just a few minutes. Serve hot.

Return to Potato Recipes.

Savoy France

The Savoy region of France is made of up of the French Alps in the south eastern corner of the country. It is a mountainous region popular with skiers and climbers. Here you will find winter resorts that are internationally acclaimed for their skiing as well as health spas. But you could also visit in the summer when you will find great fishing, golf courses, tennis, and camping.

All of those activities can work up an appetite, and that's why you'll find lots of hearty food, such as this potato cheese casserole, in Savoy as well. Another very popular and hearty potato dish, gratin Dauphinois (scalloped potatoes recipe) originates from this mountainous area as well.

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