Ah, the mighty potato. Such a simple yet filling, inexpensive, and versatile vegetable. And pretty much a staple in our home!
Today’s recipe focuses on the incredible potato. It’s a mixture of flavor and texture that I have improved upon throughout the past five years I have been married. And it has become one of the Mister’s (my husband’s) favorite dishes of all time.
This dish is easy to make, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s very filling. Plus, it’s a one-dish wonder. I personally fill up on just one potato whereas the Mister usually consumes two. Either way, sides are pretty much unnecessary. But if you must go with a side, pick something light and refreshing like a simple, light salad with lettuce and dandelion leaves. I would avoid serving it with bread as this would be too much white (I like a colorful plate) plus a carb overload.
These twice baked potatoes are an awesome make-ahead meal because they freeze well. To freeze them, make them as directed below all the way up to the second baking, but don’t bake them the second time. Instead, place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for about 5 hours or overnight (this is so they hold their shape without getting messy). Remove from the freezer, wrap in something airtight, then place back in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake them, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and bake at 350° degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes to an hour (or more or less) or until heated through.
Now, before I delve into the recipe, please take note–potatoes are often genetically modified (you know, GMO) and they’re on the Dirty Dozen list. So if you’d like to keep things real (real food I mean), be very careful to use organic russet potatoes. Homegrown ones are of course the tastiest and freshest, but just about any store-bought organic ones will far very well too.
The Mister’s Favorite Twice Baked Potatoes
- 4 large organic russet potatoes
- 4 slices of bacon, diced
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1 to 1-1/2 c. sour cream
- 1/4 c. beef stock or broth
- 1 tsp. Real Salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- whole milk
- shredded cheese (any kind)
- dried dill
- red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Poke several holes in each potato with the tip of a sharp knife. This allows for steam to escape.
- Microwave the potatoes on high for 10 to 20 minutes or until a knife cuts through each one easily. OR you can bake them at 400° Fahrenheit for about an hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small kettle, brown the bacon. Scoop the cooked bacon bits out and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon fat. I like to save the extra bacon fat for cooking.
- In the same kettle, cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until translucent. Add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is toasty and the onion is lightly caramelized.
- Once the potatoes are tender, cut a canoe-shaped hole in each one. The potato is VERY HOT at this point, so using a fork or a hot pad might help. Or you can let them cool first since they're going to be baked again shortly.
- Carefully scoop out the meat of the potato. I say carefully so you don't burn yourself and so you don't rip a hole in the skin. I usually leave a lining of the meat to make sure I'm not poking holes in the skin.
- Place the skin shells on a greased baking sheet.
- Remove and discard the peel from the canoe-shaped cut-outs then put the cut-outs and the meat of the potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until thoroughly squished. It's okay if it's a bit lumpy.
- Add half of the bacon. Stir in the onions, garlic, butter, sour cream, beef stock, salt, paprika, thyme, and pepper. Gradually add a tablespoon or two of milk and stir after each addition until a moist mashed potato results.
- Stuff the skin shells with the potato mash mixture. They will be overflowing. Sprinkle with cheese, the remaining bacon, dried dill, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the potato is heated through (especially important if you let the potato cool before gutting it).
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