Oh! these twice-baked and slightly over-stuffed potatoes are good! And they weren't at all fussy to make, easier than expected. They are 'over-stuffed', with the flesh of three potatoes filling the skins of two. This made the taste all about the potato, rather than the cheese.
For great potato taste, bake the potatoes for three hours -- yes, three hours. (No, that's not a typo.) I know, I know, 'one hour' is the standard answer when you ask how long to bake a baked potato. But you won't believe the difference in the texture of the flesh in Slow-Baked Potatoes. After three hours, the potato flesh is creamy (though not soft) and almost nutty in flavor. And the skins, oh! the skins are so crispy and good. There's no NOT eating them. They're just perfect for twice-baked potatoes.
- Choose 'baking' potatoes, some times called Idaho potatoes, the russets that have brown rough skins.
- Chipotle cheddar cheese adds a nice 'bite' but any good cheese will do.
- The potato flesh is quite soft so there's no need to 'mash' the potatoes unless you prefer. Just smash a bit with the spoon while mixing with the other ingredients. We really enjoyed having small chunks of potato throughout.
- If portion management is important, pick out the smallest russet potatoes. That said, the smallest ones seem to weigh 3/4 pound, the biggest nearly 1-1/4 pounds. That's big!
- Since even half of a large potato is 'big', especially for a multi-course meal like Thanksgiving, consider cutting each potato half in half again for a serving.
- I also experimented with white and red potatoes because they're smaller; they're okay taste-wise but just not as tasty as the russets.
- Do you need to prick the potatoes with a fork before baking? I haven't (twice) with no oven blow-ups. Plus, logic says that piercing the skin would release moisture, drying out the fleshy interior.
- A DAY AHEAD Bake the potatoes. Scoop out the centers and prepare the filling. Refrigerate. (There's no reason why the potatoes can't be made the day of, just be sure to coordinate with other things that require the oven.)
- THE DAY OF Bring the potato mixture to room temperature. Fill the potato skins. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
LEFTOVER REPORT These rewarm well but the texture is definitely better the first time out of the oven.
featured in 2006
~ Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Ginger Sage Gravy, also how to make mashed potatoes ~
more good choices for Thanksgiving
~ Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes ~
~ Potato & Poblano Pepper Gratin ~
~ more potato recipes ~
Time to table: 4 hours
BAKE THE POTATOES
3 Idaho potatoes
Set the oven to 350F with a rack in the center and a tray or piece of foil below to catch any bits of dripping. Scrub the potatoes well. Pour maybe a teaspoon of olive oil in your palm and rub the skins all around. Put the potatoes into the oven directly on the rack and bake for 3 hours (2-1/2 is likely okay too). If you think about it, turn the potatoes halfway through. Let the potatoes cool enough to handle. Cut all three in half, lengthwise. With a small spoon, scoop out the interiors into a bowl. Save four of the halves for stuffing, eat the other two on the spot, enjoying the nutty chewiness! If you're going to bake immediately, leave the oven on.
4 ounces bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (chipotle works great)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chive (reserve a bit for garnish)
Salt & pepper to taste
While the potatoes cool, cook the bacon until crispy. (Be sure to save the bacon grease in a glass refrigerator jar. It's really useful to cook with.) Reserve a bit for garnish.
In the potato bowl, stir the potato flesh with the butter, 'mashing' a bit with the spoon but not so much as to be 'smooth' like mashed potatoes. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, cooked bacon, chive and salt and pepper.
With a spoon, arrange the potato mixture in the four skins, pressing a bit to compact. Garnish with bacon and chive.
If making ahead, let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before proceeding. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until hot clear through.
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