Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Feast for 10: Twice Baked Potatos

For as log as I can remember, we have had twice baked potatoes with every holiday dinner. I was trying to describe the glory of the twice baked potato to my friend Paul, and he summarized my wordy illustration quite nicely:

So you mean, it's like a potato skin with more stuff in it?


This recipe is great for many reasons, one of which is that this is another one of those foods that you can prepare in advance and keep in the fridge or freezer. They're very filling and taste great. They take a little work to make, which is why it's good to make them a few days in advance. No matter what, they always manage to impress. They especially come in handy when feeding large amounts of men.

The recipe does come with a disclaimer:

CAUTION: THIS IS NOT A HEALTH FOOD. Do not be deceived by this recipe's "vegetable" status. This is not your grandma's baked potato. This potato will hit you harder than the turkey, so be prepared for the Foma (Food Coma).

All American Twice Baked Potato
6 Baking Potatos
4 tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup + 2 tblsp Butter
1 1/2 cups Milk
10 strips Bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Leek, finely chopped
1 cup + 1/2 cup grated Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350*f
1. In a small bowl, mix olive oil and salt.
2. With a pastry brush, coat all of the potatoes evenly in the prepared oil.
3. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and cook in the oven until soft, about an hour.
4. When potatoes are soft, remove from oven and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle.

5. Cut the potatoes in half, length-wise (the hot dog way).
6. Scoop out the potato into a large pot over low heat. Make sure you leave the skins in tact because you're going to fill them at the end!
7. After all of the potatoes have been scooped into the pot, add 1/2 cup butter and the milk.
8. Mix with egg beaters.

- You are essentially making mashed potatoes here. You want them to be smooth and creamy. It might take some playing around to get the right consistency, so keep this in mind: Butter makes them creamy, milk makes them fluffy. You want to make them creamy, but too much butter will make them dense. So after you add your butter, add milk to make them as fluffy as you want them!

9. In a small pan, melt the remaining 2 tblsp. of butter over medium-low heat.
10. Add leeks and saute until they become soft and loose their sharpness.

11. Add bacon and leeks to the potatoes. Mix with beaters on low.
12. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese and mix again.

13. Fill the potato skins that you've set aside with the mashed potato mixture and set on a baking sheet.
14. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.

*At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the potatoes until you're ready to cook them.

15. Bake at 350*f until the cheese on top melts and begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
16. FOMA!

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