"Food for Thought" has been pretty carnivorous lately, so I suggested to Nancy Leson that we talk tubers in this week's installment. Turns out that the queen of spuds had just acquired a recipe for a baked potato dense enough to produce its own event horizon.
She got it from designer and fine artist David Owens Hastings, a student at the Chicken Pot Pie cooking class she taught recently at PCC. Here's the roast chicken and bacon twice baked potatoes dinner he designed. And yes, there is a vegetarian version.
David’s Roast Chicken and Bacon Twice-Baked Potatoes
6 large russet potatoes
1 pound bacon (strips)
1 cooked rotisserie chicken (meat removed and chopped into medium-sized chunks)
1 block colby-jack cheese (16 oz.)
1 bunch scallions
3 pasilla peppers
1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (plus more for garnish)
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash or Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning)
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
fresh ground pepper
NOTE: For a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken and bacon with 2 cups fresh kale (torn into 1-inch pieces), 1 cup sliced black olives, ½ cup capers, and ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Scrub potatoes, dry them, and oil lightly, using a paper towel dabbed in a little olive oil. Prick them all over with a fork and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours until soft. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
While the potatoes are baking, carefully remove all the meat from the rotisserie chicken. Cut pieces into ½-inch cubes.
Next, cook the bacon. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, folding the sides of the paper to contain the bacon grease. Arrange the bacon on the parchment paper, overlapping the strips slightly, to create a single layer (a whole package should just fit within a large baking sheet). Once the potatoes are out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees, and bake the bacon for about 30 minutes -- or until the bacon is just starting to crisp on the edges.
Remove bacon from oven and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lay paper towels on a wire rack, and arrange the cooked bacon in a single layer, allowing it to cool and drain. Leave the tray of parchment paper and grease to cool. When cooled off, you can lay more paper towels into the grease and gather the whole mess up and put it in your food waste.
While the bacon is cooking, cut the cooled baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a metal spoon, scoop out most of the cooked flesh into a medium bowl, leaving about ¼ inch of flesh in the skins. Line the rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil, and arrange the skins on it so they are not touching.
In a large bowl, combine the following:
About 2–3 cups cooked potato flesh, roughly chopped (leave it chunky)
The chicken meat
The colby-jack cheese (cut into roughly ½-inch cubes)
The scallions (white ends and part of the green, chopped into small pieces)
The cooked bacon (cut into ½ inch pieces with kitchen scissors)
The pasilla peppers (seeded and chopped into ¼-inch dice)
Optional: ½ to 1 whole jalapeño pepper, diced fine with seeds and all (use less or not at all if you don’t want it too spicy)
1 cup mayo
All the seasonings (you won’t need salt because the bacon, chicken and cheese make it plenty salty)
Mix well, but try not to smash the potatoes too much. Leave it chunky and a little loose. Mound the filling into each skin, packing it down a little bit.
Bake stuffed skins for 30 minutes. Turn oven up to broil, and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, watching so they don’t burn.
Garnish with fresh sour cream and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.
Makes 6 double or 12 single servings.
"What I say is that if a fellow really likes potatoes he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." – A.A. Milne