Twice Baked Potatoes

I love potatoes and don’t make them often enough. I found the original recipie for these in a great book by America’s Test Kitchen and tweaked it to taste. I omitted the Pepper Jack Cheese that the recipe called for and used cheddar instead because, in my opinion, nothing goes better with bacon than cheddar. These potatoes came out great-crispy skin, great textured filling-and the taste was really great.

 

Baked

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes (7 to 8 ounces each), scrubbed, dried, and rubbed lightly with vegetable oil
  • 8 strips bacon cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) **don’t use pre-shredded**
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of chives, chopped small
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • Ground black pepper

For garnish: extra sour cream, extra chives, extra bacon and extra shredded cheese.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.

Place potatoes on a microwave safe dish, poked many times with a fork, and microwave on high until a fork inserted into the thickest part goes into the flesh easily and they feel soft. Set them aside and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Fry bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside.

Following illustration below, using an oven mitt or folded kitchen towel to handle hot potatoes, cut each potato in half so that blunt sides will rest on work surface. Using a small dinner spoon, scoop flesh from each half into medium bowl, leaving a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness of flesh in each shell. Arrange shells on foil lined baking sheet and place them in the oven until dry and slightly crisped, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, including bacon and pepper to taste, until well combined.

Remove shells from oven and change oven setting to broil. Holding shells steady on pan with oven mitt or towel-protected hand, spoon mixture into crisped shells, mounding slightly at the center, and return to oven. Broil until spotty brown and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes from ATC:

The Right Slice

Most potatoes have two relatively flat, blunt sides and two curved sides. Halve the baked potatoes lengthwise so the blunt sides are down once the shells are stuffed, making them much more stable on the pan during the final baking.

Why this recipe works:

We had a head start on our twice-baked potato recipe, having already developed a recipe for the Best Baked Potato. Starting there, we let the baked potatoes cool slightly before slicing them open and removing the flesh. We found that we could keep the skins from turning soggy and flabby by keeping them in the oven while making the filling. And for the filling we found it best to combine the potato with a tangy dairy ingredient like sour cream or yogurt, a small amount of butter, and ingredients with strong flavors like cheddar cheese, bacon, or chipotle peppers. For a perfect finish, we placed the filled potatoes under the broiler, where they turned brown and crisp.

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