Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vegetarian Twice Baked Potato with Bacon

Oh yeah, you read that right - with bacon! Ok ok, so they're bacon-bits -- crunchy bits of soy protein artificially flavored to taste like bacon, but hey, in this recipe, they actually work better than real bacon because they're SO crunchy before they're mixed into the potato mix, and don't get rubbery like real bacon can. This is one of those eye-ball and taste recipes, so my measurements are approximate.

P.S.: DO NOT try to make this a low-fat recipe; this is a splurge dish. I cannot vouch for the results if you use low-fat/non-fat substitutes.

mmmm yummy twice-baked potato stuffed with goodies.

4 russet baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
4 scallions (green onions) sliced very thin, 1 Tbs reserved
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper (I omit)
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup sour cream (give or take)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup artificial bacon flavored bits
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or 1 Tbs garlic powder)

Bake the Potatoes, The First Time:

1) Heat your oven to 450ºF.

2) Pierce the potatoes with a fork about six times on each side - this will allow moisture to escape and make the insides nice and fluffy.

3) Cook directly on the rack for 45 to 60 minutes until the potato "gives" when you squeeze it with a hot pad.

4) Turn the oven heat down to 375º. Remove potatoes from oven and cut all potatoes in half length-wise like boats (see photo above) and allow to cool until they can comfortably be handled.

Mix up all the good-stuff:

1) Carefully scoop out the soft flesh of the potatoes into a mixing bowl, leaving enough to hold the shape of the potato and not collapse the skin. If you scoop out too much (ha) you can shape some foil around the potato skin to give it support til you refill and bake the skins. Sprinkle a little salt and/or pepper into the skins for flavor if you like to eat potato skins when all the good stuff is gone.

2) Gently mash with a fork; it shouldn't be too smooth, but fluffy and a little lumpy. You want to work kind of quickly so that the warmth of the potato flesh melts the goodies together in the bowl.

3) Cut your butter into little cubes and toss into the bowl with the salt and/or pepper and gently mix through the potatoes.

4) Throw in the scallions, garlic, bacon bits, and sour cream, and mix. If the mix is dry and crumbly, add a little more sour cream and taste.

5) Finally, add almost all of the cheese and stir. At this point, taste again to see if you need to add more salt. I used salted butter, and of course the bacon bits and cheese were salty, so I didn't have to add much at all. I really just used a pinch or two of coarse sea salt from our own Sonoma Coast.

6) Refill your potato skins and top with more scallions, bacon bits, and of course, CHEESE.

7) Arrange in a 9x13 baking pan and cook in the 375º oven for about 20 minutes. Serve while piping hot.

Tips and Adjustments:

If you serve both halves per person with a side of steamed broccoli, it can serve as a main dish, or you can serve just one half as a side to your favorite dish.

Try mixing up the cheese that you put into the mix; a nice pepper-jack or a creamy blue-cheese would make a great addition. I wanted to use parsley but I forgot to get fresh herbs, and the dried parsley just doesn't seem proper for this recipe.

**Note: Vegan cheese may or may not work in this recipe - I have heard that true vegan cheese does not contain casein, the protein that helps cheese to melt.

No comments:

Post a Comment