My good buddy Joe knows I’m once again dog sitting and bachin-it so on Friday he said he would plan to come over on Sunday, which sounded great to me. Later that evening he called back to offer a different plan – he and Carol would both come over and bring steaks and salad – for some reason they think I’m a good steak cooker but I don’t think so.
At Carol’s request, my contribution to the meal was to be twice baked potatoes, which is one of my favorites and I was happy to do. I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but didn’t follow it too closely.
8 baking potatoes, washed (I used 6 large ones)
3 tablespoons canola oil (use just enough to coat them)
2 sticks salted butter (I used 1½ sticks)
1 cup bacon bits (see note 1 below)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Cheddar or Jack cheese (I used about 1¼ cups cheddar)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
3 green onions, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Larry note 1: Since I didn’t want to trash the cooktop, I diced a pound of bacon into 1/2 “ pieces and cooked them over low heat in a high sided sauce pan until nicely brown. It takes a while to render enough fat but once the pieces are all submerged, they quickly become a nice crispy golden brown. Then I removed them with a slotted spoon, drained on paper towels, measured out the needed one cup, and saved the rest.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with the canola oil and bake for 1 hour, making sure they're sufficiently cooked through.
3. Slice the butter into pats. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the bacon bits and sour cream. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
4. With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell. Leave a small rim of potato intact for support. Lay the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet. (See note 2)
5. Smash the potatoes into the butter, bacon and sour cream. Add the cheese, milk, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper to taste and mix together well. (IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the twice-baked potatoes, do NOT add the green onions.)
6. Fill the potato shells with the filling. I like to fill the shells so they look abundant and heaping.
Larry note 2: When my mom made these she did not oil the potatoes and the skins were always crispy and hard to damage, but the oil keeps them pretty tender. You real cooks likely already know this, but I found that if I went around the potato flesh with the slanted point of the knife, it made the potato scoop out easier and left just the amount of potato I wanted on the inside.