Savoury time! And do I have the Tuesday night special for you.
I totally dig on potatoes. And when you present me a way to consume potatoes with sharp, creamy cheddar and spicy chorizo and call it dinner? Then yes, I will marry you.
Let me introduce you to my crazy hybrid version of the Tartiflette.
Tartiflette is a wonderfully old-timey seeming French dish that was actually created in the 80s to sell cheese. Yep, the International Reblochon cheese board (haha, pun intended) came up with and named this recipe, starring their wonderfully smelly reblochon cheese. I mean – it’s a FANTASTIC cheese. Pricey, because the only kind I’ve ever found is imported.
Which is why I have used a much more cost-effective, but no less delicious, mature cheddar in my tartiflette. Plus the idea to incorporate spicy, smoky chorizo had already struck me, and chorizo and reblochon would surely clash.
So out with the old (not really – see above re: 80s) and in with the new! My version of the tartiflette is inspired by Rachel Khoo, who is one of my very favourite food personalities. She seems all at once, normal, stylish, knowledgeable, and fun. What’s not to love? Her twist on the tartiflette was to make “nids” aka nests out of them, which works beautifully. It takes what would be a very heavy, stodgy dish and makes it light and textural.
Once the inspiration struck, I simply crisped the chorizo, along with some red onion and a bay leaf, before deglazing the pan with a little white wine. I cut my potatoes into a fine matchstick julienne, and then tossed the whole lot together with a healthy handful of creamy crumbly cheese. 20 minutes in the oven later and BAM dinner is served.
This dish is probably not going to win any awards for health, or is it? For the two serves here, I used 1 potato, half a chorizo sausage, half an onion and only 50g of cheddar cheese. There is no milk or cream, as there would be in a traditional gratin, and I would serve this as the main component of the meal – not as a side. When the side is this good, who needs the main?
The only thing you will want along with this is a crunchy lemony green salad. Absolutely perfect to cut through these rich little nests. And you should just go ahead and drink the rest of that bottle of wine you opened too. Anything else would be wasteful. ENJOY!
Chorizo and Cheddar Nids de Tartiflette
An original recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit, inspired by Rachel Khoo.
Serves 2, for a lunch or a light dinner.
One large potato, preferably a waxy variety
1/2 a chorizo sausage (about 50g/2oz)
1/2 a red onion
A good splosh of white wine (about 60ml/1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper
50g (20z) mature cheddar cheese
Chopped chives, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C. First, decide whether or not to peel your potato. I choose not to. Cut the potato lengthways into fine slices (as fine as you can) and then cut the slices lengthways again to make fine matchsticks of potato. Set aside in a heatproof bowl, big enough to take all the ingredients later.
Chop the chorizo and onion both into small dice, and saute in a small frying pan over a medium heat. The chorizo should release enough oil, so you won’t need to add any to the pan. Once the chorizo is crispy and the onion softened, add the white whine and let bubble up for a few seconds before turning off the heat. You don’t want much of the wine to evaporate. Scrape the bottom of the pan, to get up all the brown bits, and then tip the hot contents of the pan over the potatoes, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well and let them stand for a minute, while you grate or crumble the cheese.
Once the potato mixture is no longer warm, add the cheese and stir it through well, before distributing the mixture between two small heatproof oven dishes. My gratin dishes were about 2cm (just under 1in) deep and 12cm (5in) wide. Place these into the oven for 20 minutes, and serve with a glass of cold white wine and a fresh green salad. So frenchy, so chic.