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Food

Stuffed potato skins

…or “twice baked potatoes”, or “fully loaded skins” if that floats your boat.

Over lunch on Saturday, Kit – somewhat left-field – suggested potato skins for dinner. They’re a greasy, joyous bar grub classic, and I agreed in a second.

Stuffed potato skins - done

They also go by more names than Gandalf. Well, ok, they go by a shade under half as many names as Gandalf if we’re being pernickety, but that’s not the point. The point is that dishes with multiple vernacular names are a searchability (and SEO) headache, but I’m fairly sure that whether we’re calling them stuffed skins, loaded skins, or twice baked potatoes, they’re all the same filthy/gorgeous greasy carb pile.

As an invention, potato skins, scooped out, covered in stuff, and served as an appetiser are generally credited to the unprepossessing TGI Friday’s restaurant chain. Of course, they’re an idea so simple that they must have cropped up before, not least as a consolation prize for folks attempting to make gnocchi the long way round.

Stuffed potato skins - bakedIt’s the crunch of the skins with the creamy soft potato that make these. The fillings/toppings are kind of a bonus. But as these were a main course, I went to town a bit.

If you want to maximise the crunchy snacky vibe, treat them like nachos. Just use a big plate of skins as a base, put topping over the lot, and bake that.

You don’t really need a recipe to bake potatoes and fill them with stuff, so here’s some brief notes on what I did, and what I’d do next time.

Instructions:

Bake some potatoes, cut them in half when they’re nearly done and have cooled a bit, then scoop out most of the potato inside. Mix around half of that with other stuff, pack it back in, and bake them again.

Stuffed potato skins - cooling skinsThat’s it, basically. Now let’s talk fillings.

You don’t need to use all of the reserved potato, although I ended up doing so, as I was using lots of medium to small spuds. I’d loosen it up a bit with some butter or soured cream, just so everything is a bit less heavy and easier to blend.

I made two sets, one with grated courgette, sweetcorn, and cheese; one with chorizo, garlic, and onions. They worked, but I’d make some tweaks.

Stuffed potato skins - stuffingThe courgette and sweetcorn ones were a flavour pairing inspired by two things: a sweetcorn fritters recipe I saw a few weeks back, and a vague desire not to die. If I hadn’t been restricted to lactose-free cheese, I’d have used feta. The sweetness of the corn would go well with the sharpness.

For these, I grated the courgette, and fried it a little to drive off the moisture. Then in went the sweetcorn for a minute or two, and a little seasoning and oregano. The cheese was stirred through with the potato when it had all cooled a little.

The Chorizo filling was just chorizo with slowly-fried onions and garlic. Nothing to fix here, although it would totally take mushrooms if you were so-minded.

Other fillings I’d suggest include:

  • Shredded cabbage, fried to soften, with cumin, allspice, and a little tomato. Optional sharp strong cheddar.
  • Fried crumbled sausage, fennel seeds (or use finocchiona), mozzarella on top.
  • Mushrooms and blue cheese.
  • Kimchi.
  • Smoked haddock, sweetcorn, optional wilted spinach.

Yes, I know that last one is basically chowder, but come on, imagine that with a little melted cheddar on top and tell me it won’t work.

Any other suggestions?

Update: bloody hell – I forgot about bacon

As Nick points out:

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