Monday, September 19, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

               Are you a potato lover? Well, I most definitely am! Roasted, mashed, fried, baked, sautéed, any which way prepared I’m ready to dig in. If we had to get into the nitty-gritty of it though, my favorite kind of spud would be mashed. I love, LOVE , love mashed potatoes. Ask my mom or grandma and they’ll tell you I’ve been a mashed potato monster since about my 2nd birthday! It wasn’t until I met one of my best friends though that my beloved mashed potato took a step down and became my number 2 preferred potato dish. I remember the day very clearly; we had Cornish hens and twice baked potatoes. Sitting at the counter, I watched my friend’s mother bake the potatoes, and then mash them. This event alone made me so glad I was allowed to “eat over” that night! But when she didn’t throw away the skins or spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving bowl I was intrigued. I continued to watch her cook and make what she explained was twice baked potatoes. “So they are baked, mashed, then baked again?” I inquired. I never imagined that mashed potatoes could get any better than what I usually devoured, but I was soon enlightened! These “boats of beauty” were amazing, I ate about 3 that night and later told my mother all about it. She’s sadly not the kind of potato-admirer I turned out to be, so the dish didn’t make an appearance on our table in the coming days, months, or years! It’s okay though because she makes outstanding meals 99% of the time, so I have let this slide;) So this brings me to this dish, one in which I remember loving so much as a kid, and now one that I love so much with my husband. It’s only a party of two for now but with food like this, we keep ourselves busyJ

Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves 4-6
OBJ: TCW be able to remake a childhood favorite

3 Russet potatoes, equal in size
4 TBS unsalted butter, plus 1 TBS for crumb topping
1 C whole milk
I head of roasted garlic (see below)
Extra virgin olive oil, for coating
¼ C Italian breadcrumbs
S & P: salt and pepper

1. Roast garlic :
1.      Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2.      Cut the top off the head off garlic leaving skin on
3.      Place garlic on top of a large, 11 x 16, piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 3 TBS of oil, ½ TBS pepper, and 1-2 tsp salt
4.      Wrap garlic up in foil, leaving room inside foil for garlic to “steam roast”
5.      Roast for 40 minutes, take out of oven and let cool in foil for about 20 minutes
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees
3. Clean and dry potatoes, poke holes in each potato using a fork, about 4 “stabs” per spud
4. Using a pastry brush, lightly oil each potato, sprinkle with salt, place in oven to bake for 40 minutes
5. Take potatoes out of oven and let cool completely
6. Cut each potato in ½ lengthwise, scoop inner potato out leaving about ¼ inch potato-lining.  Place scooped out potato in a mixer or large bowl
Potato Shells.....
7. Microwave butter and milk for about 1 minute, mix, make sure butter has melted. Microwave on 15 second intervals again if butter hasn’t all melted
8. Pour about ½ butter/milk mixture in mixer bowl with potatoes, add squeezed out garlic from the head of roasted garlic, a generous pinch of S &P (about ½-1 tsp each) and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes
9. Add another ¼ of butter/milk mixture as you’re mixing to attain the creamy consistency for potatoes, place aside (not all butter/milk mixture will be used unless you have very large potatoes)
10. Place the potato “skins” on a baking sheet, using a pastry brush lightly coat the entire potato “skin” with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 5 minutes skin side up, then flip and roast for 5 minutes skin side down, remove from oven
11. Spoon about ½ C mashed potatoes into each “skin”
Filled and ready to for the oven.....
12. Roast for 20 minutes
13. Melt 1 TBS butter, add and mix with breadcrumbs, sprinkle evenly over each potato
14. Roast for an additional 8-10 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and edges of potatoes are crisp
15. Sprinkle with S & P and serve!

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