Hey party people…are you looking for a way to amp up the vibe during the lockdown?
Here’s your answer. You’ve probably seen those videos on social media where the bubbling cheese is scraped off and poured over the top of potatoes or vegetables and meats.
Well, it’s time we let you in on the secret. It’s called raclette and there’s no need to leave home to indulge. Having your own personal raclette or party grill party is a thing and with the weather just starting to dip, frankly, there could be no better time to get yourself set up to take part.
But what is it, exactly?
Raclette is big in Switzerland and France. Basically, it is a tabletop grill, that you sit around and each person takes control of their own cooking.
But what makes it super fun, is there is a communal grill on the top that everyone shares and then underneath, each person has their own personal pan where they make their own mashup of all the ingredients…including the hero—cheese.
Raclette is both the name of the dish and the name of the cheese that is eaten as part of the dish.
How do you do it?
There are no rules, but basically, the idea is you’re eating cheese. Gooey, delicious, tasty cheese and everything else is just an addition.
In Europe, they eat the Raclette with boiled potatoes and chopped pickles and whatever else is added is up to the imagination.
If you’re a first-timer, you will probably find the cheese and potatoes really filling, especially since there are lots of different flavours and profiles of raclette cheese.
But as you get the hang of it, you will want to experiment with adding more vegetables, beautiful meat and even things like gourmet sausages.
Why is it so much fun?
Firstly, in case we need to spell it out, the answer is melted, gooey, bubbling hot cheese.
But if you’re one of those people and you’re not so easily pleased, then here are some other reasons you will love it.
There’s hardly any prep required. Just chop the cheese and vegetables, and boil some baby potatoes, and you’re ready to go.
It can cater for individual dietary requirements, no problem. Vegetarians can break bread with carnivores and there’s no love lost.
The hosts don’t have to do all the work. All they need to worry about is cooking for themselves.
Now, in lockdown, by hosts, we mean the main cook of the house.
It forces everyone to sit down together. At the same time.
It is new, exciting, and definitely the perfect treat on a winter’s night.
Can I buy raclette cheese?
Yes, you sure can. Check your local supermarket or specialty grocer. And make sure you look out for variations. You’ll need about 200gm of cheese per person, so there are plenty of opportunities to serve up different types.
Traditionally, people also cook bacon on the top grill and then they cook the rest of their food in the remaining pan juices.
It kind of sounds like heaven. Give this a whirl, it may just help to banish the lockdown blues.
Raclette Party Recipe
- 150g-200g Raclette cheese per person, thick sliced
- 4-6 baby potatoes per person, boiled until tender
- Vegetables of your choice, washed well and chopped (hint: we love capsicum, zucchini and eggplant)
- 2 slices of middle cut bacon per person
- A selection of meat of your choice (hint: sirloin, sausages, chicken)
- 50g cornichons per person (regular gherkins are fine too)
- If necessary, cut the cheese to fit the little pans under the grill.
- Turn the party grill on to medium to high heat. Start by cooking the bacon. When that’s done, cook your other vegetables and meats in the fat. If you’re not using bacon, just use a little bit of olive oil.
- Next, each person should start melting their own cheese in their own pan, under the grill. You can put your boiled baby potatoes on the top grill to crisp them up a little or put them in the pan with your cheese.
- There are no real rules. Mix your favourite combinations together and eat and repeat and eat and…See we told you!